By Sadie Robinson
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Angry and determined picket lines as university workers walk out over pay

This article is over 10 years, 4 months old
Issue 2389
On the picket lines on 28 January

On the picket lines on 28 January (Pic: Terry McGrath)

Workers in higher education across Britain were set to walk out on Thursday of this week. The strike is the latest action in a long?running campaign to win decent pay.

UCU union members in universities took part in two two?hour strikes last month. Thursday’s strike will see them walk out for a day—along with Unison, Unite and EIS union members.

UCU members were also set to strike for two hours from 9am on Monday of next week. 

But some are preparing to strike for the full day after some bosses said they would deduct a day’s pay for the two hour strikes.

Higher education workers face a below-inflation 1 percent pay deal. UCU picket lines have been angry but determined. Over 100 strikers picketed at University College London during the strike on Tuesday of last week. They joined around 60 pickets from London’s Institute of Education to lobby university bosses.

At Strathclyde university in Glasgow, lecturers were angry at bosses getting an above-inflation rise while workers face a measly 1 percent deal and redundancies. 

Some 50 workers and students joined a teach-out at Kingston University. “There was anger at the union’s strategy of two-hour strikes,” said student Alistair Farrow. “People think they are inadequate to challenge the attack.” 

Strikers from the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University met and voted by over 80 percent to escalate the strikes. 

Meanwhile some university bosses have been forced to retreat on threats to deduct a full day’s pay for a two-hour strike. 

Those at the University of South Wales backed down after “an approach from UCU”. 

The success of the action shows the potential to win—workers should pile the pressure on union leaders to escalate the fight now.


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