Thousands of employees at 150 UK universities are striking again over pay, pension cuts and working conditions.
Despite hopes of a resolution, University College Union (UCU) members – including academic staff, caterers, librarians, security workers and technicians – are walking out today, tomorrow and the following day (20, 21 and 22 March).
At 83 universities strike action is over pay and working conditions, at five it is because of pensions, and at 62 action is happening because of both issues.
A total of 18 days’ strike action in February and March was originally set to take place, but some days were called off following some progress in negotiations.
Employers put forward a revised pay offer which the UCU decided not to formally consult members about. The union says employees will be re-balloted at 150 universities about more strikes if a resolution is not reached.
According to the UCU, the proposals “pave the way for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension to be restored by April 2024, to end the use of involuntary zero-hour contracts in higher education, and to agree new standards, frameworks and principles to tackle other forms of casualised contracts, reduce workloads and close equality pay gaps”.
General secretary Jo Grady said: “After weeks of intensive negotiations, university employers have finally agreed to put forward a set of proposals on pay, conditions and pensions. This breakthrough is down to the strength, determination and sacrifice of university workers who have stood on picket lines.
“The proposals will now move through our union’s democratic processes, and strike action will continue until our 70,000 UCU members have had the chance to have their say.”
Walkouts have been happening at some universities since 2021, with UCU employees previously going on strike in November last year.