UCU calls strike action at five London universities

The Universities and College Union (UCU) has announced strike action across a total of 60 UK universities starting November 25 and ending December 4.

Last week, members of the UCU supported strike action in regards to disputes on pensions and on pay and working conditions. The pensions dispute is due to changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) which will lead to increased pension payments but less paid out in retirement to university staff. The dispute has been ongoing since 2018, when UCU members participated in strike days and ‘action short of a strike’ (ASOS), causing mass disruptions to universities. 

The pay and working conditions dispute refers to a drop in pay for universitiy staff in the last decade while workloads have increased. 

There was a majority of “79% of UCU members who voted” for strike action in the pensions ballot while “74% of members polled backed strike action” in the “ballot on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads,” UCU said in a statement. 

The forthcoming strike days will see cancellations hundreds of lectures and events. UCU members will also participate in ASOS in addition to the strike days. ASOS refers to union members “working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.” 

The strikes will go ahead later this month “unless the employers start talking to [UCU] seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions,” according to Jo Grady, UCU’s general secretary. 

Five of the universities participating in strike action are in London. The London universities affected include:

  • City, University of London
  • University College London (UCL)
  • Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Royal Holloway, University of London

London Student will be following the strike action closely and will be providing ongoing coverage of this issue. Please get in touch at micheletheil@gmail.com if you want to talk to us about UCU strike action and keep an eye on our website for more information. 

Photography Credit: Emma Halahan

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