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Start of university term to be hit with five days of UK-wide strikes

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Staff at 140 universities across the UK will strike for five days later this month in a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions, the University and College Union (UCU) announced today (Wednesday). 

At 136 of the 140 universities, UCU members will strike for five consecutive days from Monday 25 to Friday 29 September. Strikes will hit four Scottish universities on slightly different dates to coincide with local action by other unions. 

The dispute centres on low pay and working conditions. Employer body, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has imposed a pay award for 23/24 worth just 5% for most UCU members, even though they overwhelmingly voted to reject it. UCU is also demanding action on gig-economy employment practices and high workloads. 

UCU has now withdrawn its marking and assessment boycott. This has been ongoing since Thursday 20 April. It will also begin reballoting universities shortly. This will allow it to escalate the dispute by taking further action this year and into 2024. Staff are continuing other forms of industrial action, including working to rule, not undertaking any voluntary activities, and not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action. 

UCU’s analysis of universities shows the sector generated more money than ever last year while the proportion going to staff fell to a record low. 

UCU has agreed to a joint review of sector finances alongside UCEA.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘We are left with no option but to strike during the start of term because our members refuse to stand by while pay is eroded and staff are shunted onto gig-economy contracts. 

‘It is shameful that vice-chancellors still refuse to settle the dispute despite a year of unprecedented disruption, and have instead imposed a pay award that staff overwhelmingly rejected. Universities are richer than ever, generating tens of billions of pounds in income and hoarding billions more in cash deposits. But they won’t give staff their fair share, a pay award of 5% is a huge real-terms pay cut and is substantially lower than school teachers received.

‘We have sought to settle this dispute at every opportunity, including agreeing to a joint review of sector finances, but we are faced with employers that want to see staff and students suffer. We desperately hope vice-chancellors realise we are going nowhere without a fair settlement and make us a realistic offer. If they do not, campuses will be marred by picket lines during fresher’s week, and we will launch a new strike ballot allowing us to take action well into 2024.’

Universities taking strike action for five consecutive days from Monday 25 September to Friday 29 September over pay and conditions:

  1. Aberdeen, The University of
  2. Abertay University
  3. Aberystwyth University
  4. Anglia Ruskin University
  5. Aston University
  6. Arts University Bournemouth
  7. Bangor University
  8. Bath University of
  9. Bath Spa University
  10. Bedfordshire University of
  11. Birkbeck, University of London
  12. Birmingham, The University of
  13. Birmingham Newman University
  14. Bishop Grosseteste University
  15. Buckinghamshire New University
  16. Bolton The University of
  17. Bournemouth University
  18. Bradford, University of
  19. Bristol, University of
  20. Brunel University
  21. Cambridge, University of
  22. Canterbury Christ Church University
  23. Cardiff, University of (strike action is over punitive pay deductions for those who took part in the marking and assessment boycott)
  24. Cardiff Metropolitan University
  25. Chester, University of
  26. Chichester, University of
  27. City, University of London
  28. Courtauld Institute of Art
  29. Coventry University
  30. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  31. Cumbria University of
  32. Derby University of
  33. De Montfort University
  34. Durham University
  35. East London, University of
  36. Edge Hill University
  37. Edinburgh, University of
  38. Edinburgh Napier University
  39. Essex, University of
  40. Exeter, University of
  41. Falmouth University
  42. Gloucestershire, University of
  43. Wrexham Glyndwr University
  44. Goldsmiths, University of London
  45. Greenwich, University of
  46. Glasgow School of Art
  47. Harper Adams University
  48. Heriot-Watt University
  49. Hertfordshire, University of
  50. Huddersfield, The University of
  51. Hull, The University of
  52. Kings College London
  53. Keele University
  54. Kent, The University of
  55. Kingston University
  56. Lancaster, University of
  57. Leeds, The University of
  58. Leeds Beckett University
  59. Leeds Trinity University
  60. Leicester, University of
  61. Lincoln, University of
  62. Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts LIPA
  63. Liverpool, University of
  64. Liverpool Hope University
  65. Liverpool John Moores University
  66. London Metropolitan University City Campus
  67. Loughborough University
  68. London South Bank University Essex
  69. London School of Economics
  70. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  71. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  72. Manchester, University of (strike action is over punitive pay deductions for those who took part in the marking and assessment boycott. Staff are striking from Tuesday 19 to Friday 22 September, and Monday 25 September to Friday 29 September.)
  73. Manchester Metropolitan University
  74. Middlesex University
  75. Newcastle University
  76. Northampton, The University of
  77. Northumbria University
  78. Nottingham, The University of
  79. Norwich University of the Arts
  80. Open University
  81. Oxford, University of
  82. Oxford Brookes University
  83. University of Plymouth
  84. Plymouth Marjon University
  85. Portsmouth, University of
  86. Queen Mary University of London
  87. Queen Margaret University
  88. Royal College of Art
  89. Royal College of Music
  90. Royal Holloway, University of London
  91. Robert Gordon, The University of
  92. Roehampton University
  93. Rose Bruford College
  94. Royal Academy of Music
  95. Royal Agricultural University
  96. Royal Northern College of Music
  97. Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  98. Salford, The University of
  99. Senate House University of London
  100. Sheffield, The University of
  101. Sheffield Hallam University
  102. SOAS, University of London
  103. Solent University
  104. South Wales, University of
  105. Southampton, University of
  106. St Andrews, University of
  107. St Georges, University of London
  108. St Mary’s University Twickenham
  109. St Mary’s University College Belfast
  110. Stirling, The University of
  111. Stranmillis University College
  112. Suffolk, University of
  113. Sunderland, University of
  114. Surrey, University of
  115. Sussex, University of
  116. Swansea University
  117. Teesside, University of
  118. Trinity Laban
  119. University of the Arts London
  120. University College Birmingham
  121. University for the Creative Arts
  122. University College London
  123. Central Lancashire, University of
  124. Ulster University
  125. University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  126. Warwick, University of
  127. West London, University of
  128. West of England, University of the
  129. West of Scotland, University of the
  130. Westminster, University of
  131. Winchester, The University of
  132. Wolverhampton, University of
  133. Worcester, University of
  134. Writtle University College
  135. York, University of
  136. York St John University

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