Socialist Worker

Workers ready for strikes to sweep 74 universities

Issue No. 2691

Workers are set to go on strike for two weeks

Workers are set to go on strike for two weeks (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Workers at scores of universities are set to strike for two days from Thursday of next week—kicking off some 14 days of walkouts.

It will be the first national strike under the Boris Johnson government. Everyone needs to build solidarity with the fightback.

UCU union members at 74 institutions are fighting over pay, pensions, workloads, casual contracts and pay inequality.

Carlo Morelli is a UCU rep at Dundee university and a member of the union’s national executive committee.

“Long gone are the days when universities were a place of well paid workers with autonomy over their jobs.

Now people are employed in factory-like conditions,” he told Socialist Worker.

Right wingers tried to undermine the struggle by claiming the strikes don’t have support.

Yet as UCU negotiator Jo McNeill said, “Members all over the country debated the next phase of action.

“They showed overwhelming support for maintaining the dual disputes strategy and for 14 more days of impactful action. They are up for a serious fight.”

Mark Abel, a UCU rep at Brighton university and another UCU negotiator, agreed. “Some people are apprehensive,” he said. “But in my inbox, they have been outnumbered by people asking how they can join in with the action.”

A fantastic eight-day strike last year showed the strength of feeling.

Some 3,500 people joined the union within three weeks of the action being called. Carlo said recruitment to the union is “going through the roof again”.

Jo said, “The demands we are making are winnable. Our collective action can bring these wins home.”

Ordinary union members taking control of the action will be key to winning. “This strike has been created by the rank and file,” said Carlo. “They need to determine the outcome.”

Strike dates vary from university to university.
For more information on strike dates visit bit.ly/UCUdates

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