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Staff at another 14 universities can join strike action

The number of UK universities who could be hit with strike action this term now stands at 74 following a series of reballots in disputes over pensions, and over pay and conditions.

UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight days between Monday 25 November and Wednesday 4 December. Staff at a further 12 universities* can now join them after UCU members there backed industrial action and, crucially, met the punitive 50% legal turnout threshold:

  • Bath Spa University
  • Birkbeck College
  • Keele University
  • King’s College London
  • Royal College of Art
  • The University of Huddersfield
  • The University of Winchester
  • University of East London
  • Leeds Trinity University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • UAL London College of Arts
  • Imperial College London
  • De Montfort University
  • University of Greenwich

Members at Birkbeck and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) backed action in both disputes. A further nine institutions backed strike action over pay and conditions, while three more institutions could be set to walk out over pensions. Staff at two institutions that took part in strike action last year – the University of Oxford and the University of East Anglia – will also now be able to take action in relation to both disputes.

Overall, in the latest ballots 80% of members backed strikes over pensions, while 76% voted for strike action over pay and conditions. The union said that the strong support for action showed that members are just as determined as ever to defend their pensions, pay and working conditions. 

The union’s higher education committee (HEC) meets tomorrow (Thursday) to consider the reballot results, listen to updates from both disputes and discuss next steps in the two disputes. The disputes centre on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and on universities’ failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

The body representing universities in the pay, equality, casualisation and workloads dispute made an offer to the unions on Tuesday evening. An analysis of that offer from UCU general secretary Jo Grady is available here. The union’s HEC will consider that offer and receive an update on talks between UCU, USS and Universities UK – the universities’ representatives in the dispute over USS pensions,

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘UCU members at 74 universities could walk out this term. We have been clear from the outset that we are prepared to take serious and sustained action to defend pay and conditions, as well as our pensions, and these latest ballot results show that members are just as determined as ever.

‘Our higher education committee meets tomorrow  to consider next steps in both disputes and will respond to the offer from the employers and discuss the latest from the talks on USS.’

The full updated list of institutions eligible to take strike action is as follows (updated institutions are in bold):

Both disputes (46):

1.       Aston University

2.       Bangor University

3.       Cardiff University

4.       University of Durham

5.       Heriot-Watt University

6.       Loughborough University

7.       Newcastle University

8.       The Open University

9.       The University of Bath

10.   The University of Dundee

11.   The University of Leeds

12.   The University of Manchester

13.   The University of Sheffield

14.   University of Nottingham

15.   The University of Stirling

16.   University College London

17.   The University of Birmingham

18.   The University of Bradford

19.   The University of Bristol

20.   The University of Cambridge

21.   The University of Edinburgh

22.   The University of Exeter

23.   The University of Essex

24.   The University of Glasgow

25.   The University of Lancaster

26.   The University of Leicester

27.   City University

28.   Goldsmiths College

29.   Queen Mary University of London

30.   Royal Holloway

31.   The University of Reading

32.   The University of Southampton

33.   The University of St Andrews

34.   Courtauld Institute of Art

35.   The University of Strathclyde

36.   The University of Wales

37.   The University of Warwick

38.   The University of York

39.   The University of Liverpool

40.   The University of Sussex

41.   The University of Ulster

42.   Queen’s University Belfast

43. Birkbeck College

44. SOAS, University of London

45. The University of Oxford

46. The University of East Anglia


Pay and conditions dispute only (22):

1.       Bishop Grosseteste University

2.       Bournemouth University

3.       Edge Hill University

4.       Glasgow Caledonian University

5.       Glasgow School of Art

6.       Liverpool Hope University

7.       Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

8.       Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

9.       St Mary’s University College, Belfast

10.   Roehampton University

11.   Sheffield Hallam University

12.   The University of Brighton

13.   The University of Kent

14. Bath Spa University

15. Royal College of Art

16. University of Huddersfield

17. University of Winchester

18. University of East London

19. Leeds Trinity University

20. UAL London College of Arts

21. De Montfort University

22. University of Greenwich


USS pensions dispute only (6):

1.       Scottish Association of Marine Science

2.       The University of Aberdeen

3.    Institute for Development Studies

4.    Keele University

5.    King’s College London

6.    Imperial College London


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