By Sadie Robinson
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University strikers fight for better pay

This article is over 5 years, 6 months old
Issue 2510
UCU union members striking at the University of Leeds last week
UCU union members striking at the University of Leeds last week (Pic: Christian Hogsbjerg)

University workers across Britain are continuing a rolling programme of strikes in a bitter dispute over pay.

Workers at 38 institutions were set to strike on Thursday of this week.

The UCU union members are calling for a better pay rise than the 1.1 percent bosses have so far offered. And they want equal pay for women and an end to casualised contracts too.

Warwick University workers struck last Saturday, to coincide with an open day.

Justine Mercer is president of Warwick UCU. She said strikers used the action to talk to students and parents “about the changing nature of higher education”. “Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions,” she said.

“Members have been left with no alternative but to take this action.”

UCU members at the universities of Chester, Liverpool, Warwick, Heriot-Watt and Oxford Brookes struck last Friday, along with workers at the Glasgow School of Art.

Walkouts hit Birkbeck, Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow Caledonian and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine the day before.

Wednesday saw strikes at ten universities—including Oxford, Manchester and Reading. Central Lancashire struck on Tuesday.

The walkout at Reading disrupted a “celebration” held by the university to mark its 90th anniversary.

Paul Hatcher is president of Reading university UCU. He said, “We’re boycotting the celebration. “What have staff got to celebrate when they’ve suffered a real-terms pay cut of 14.5 percent since 2009?”

Union members at the University of Arts London struck on Monday of this week, while workers at University of West London and University of Aberdeen struck on Tuesday.

Further strikes are planned on Friday and Saturday. And some universities plan to walk out on Tuesday 5 July, to coincide with an England-wide teachers’ strike.

The University of Winchester kicked off the rolling strikes last month. Workers at other universities, including Kent, Edinburgh, Sussex, Leeds and Warwick, have also struck.

The action follows a 48-hour strike in May. The union plans further national action in the autumn, including an assessment boycott and strikes, if bosses don’t budge.

When will workers be on strike?

  • Thursday 30 June: Bishop Grosseteste University, University of Derby, University of Cambridge, Brunel University, King’s College London, London School of Economics, Courtauld Institute of Art, Royal Academy of Music, Royal Veterinary College, University of Westminster, Queen Mary, University of London, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Royal Holloway, St George’s, University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, St Mary’s University College Belfast, Stranmillis University College, Ulster University, University of Bolton, Royal Northern College of Music, Robert Gordon University, University for the Creative Arts, University of Surrey, Bournemouth University, University of Portsmouth, Falmouth University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of Wales, University of Gloucestershire, Harper Adams University, Staffordshire University, University College Birmingham, University of Worcester, Royal Agricultural University, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Friday 1 July: Loughborough University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Cardiff University
  • Saturday 2 July: Durham University







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