Open University staff to strike

11 July 2016

UCU members at The Open University will be on strike tomorrow as part of a wave of nationwide strikes in a row over pay and conditions.

Staff at the university will be on picket lines on the St Michaels Drive and Walton Drive entrances to the Milton Keynes campus from 7am.

This is the third time UCU members at the institution have been on strike this year in the pay row. The nationwide strikes over pay began with two national strike days in May and now UCU members at separate institutions are striking to target local events such as open days.

The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of just 1.1% from the universities' employers, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. UCU said universities can afford to pay more and the offer did little to address the real-terms pay cut of 14.5% that members have suffered since 2009.

The squeeze on staff salaries comes despite vice-chancellors enjoying a 6.1% pay hike.

The union has also called for universities to commit to closing the gender pay gap and reducing the proportion of staff on casual contracts. On average, female academics are paid £6,103 less a year than their male counterparts, while 49% of university teachers are on insecure contracts.

The Open University has the second highest percentage of teaching staff on insecure contracts, with almost nine out 10 staff (88%) involved in teaching on a casual contract of some form.

UCU local representative, Pauline Collins, said: 'Our targeted strike action is a result of the employers' failure to deal with the declining real-terms pay of university staff, or tackle the problems of growing numbers of casual contracts and the persistent gender pay gap. Members have been left with no alternative but to take this action.'

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