UK universities face nationwide strike as pay and pensions dispute escalates


College students at 150 UK universities face additional disruption after lecturers and employees voted in favour of a nationwide strike in an ongoing row over pay and pensions.

The College and Faculty Union on Monday mentioned its members had damaged the brink of fifty per cent turnout required for strike motion in two separate ballots.

The votes mark the primary time an training union has secured a mandate for a nationwide walkout since legal guidelines curbing unions’ skill to name strikes had been launched in 2016 and are available amid an intensifying price of dwelling disaster.

In addition they set the stage for months of disrupted lessons alongside additional potential strikes in faculties and faculties.

Jo Grady, UCU common secretary, mentioned college staff had been “keen to deliver the complete sector to a standstill, if critical negotiations didn’t begin very quickly”. 

“College employees are essential staff in communities up and down the UK. They’re sending a transparent message that they won’t settle for falling pay, insecure employment and assaults on pensions.”

UK universities have been locked in a dispute over pensions, pay and dealing circumstances since 2018, with 10 days of strikes at the beginning of this 12 months.

Beforehand, particular person UCU branches needed to safe their very own mandates to carry walkouts. However on this spherical of balloting, the union sought a mandate throughout all universities.

Within the poll on pay and dealing circumstances, 81.1 per cent of respondents voted to strike, with a turnout of 57.8 per cent amongst members at 145 universities.

In a second poll on pensions, 84.9 per cent of respondents at 67 establishments that take part within the Universities Superannuation Scheme voted in favour of walkouts, on a turnout of 60.2 per cent.

The union will determine its subsequent steps at a nationwide assembly on November 3.

The doubtless strikes will add to a wave of UK industrial unrest, as staff demand pay rises in line with inflation, which is at 10.1 per cent.

Whereas the three greatest instructing unions final week moved in the direction of walkouts in protest at a funding squeeze, UCU members at additional training faculties are already placing.

The UCU known as for a “significant pay rise” for all college employees in response to the price of dwelling disaster, saying they’d been provided a rise of three per cent this 12 months. It added that it needed controversial cuts made to the USS scheme on the top of the Covid-19 pandemic to be reversed.

Universities UK, which represents the sector and oversees talks on pension phrases, mentioned pension contributions had been “on the very restrict of affordability”.

“Universities are adept at mitigating the affect of strikes on scholar studying, and so ready for any additional doable industrial motion over the approaching months.”

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