UCU Strikes Painted by Numbers: King’s Faculties With Most Members On Strike


Arts & Humanities and Social Science & Public Policy were the faculties with most members participating in the UCU strike at King’s earlier this year. 

During the University and College Union (UCU) strikes some students saw emails from lectures filling their inboxes and emptying their timetables; for others, nothing changed. A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiry about faculty ratios of striking members confirms a wide-spread hunch amongst students: an English student was more likely to have classes cancelled than a Maths student.

UCU members protested a new pension scheme proposal to make pensions more dependent on the stock market, meaning some lectures could lose yearly £10,000. Planned industrial action is now suspended as UCU members and Universities UK (UUK) reached an agreement in April on the latest proposals.

The numbers provided by King’s in response to Roar’s FOI request are taken from a live system and are subject to change, as some departments are yet to report on striking employees. Data includes employees defined as ‘members of staff issued with a contract of employment issued by King’s College London, and for whom the university is liable to pay Class 1 National Insurance’.

Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences & Public Policy are clear leaders amongst King’s faculties for employees taking industrial action. Arts & Humanities had 210 and Social Science & Public Policy had 190 members on protesting the proposed pension cuts.

Next in the picket line are the Life Sciences & Medicine and Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience faculties with 60 and, respectively, 55 striking staff members.

Numbers of striking employees differ greatly across Medical Sciences faculties. In contrast to Life Sciences & Medicine numbers, only 5 staff members from Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care went on strike, with numbers less than five for the Dental Institute.

Just like Dentists, Lawyers were absent from the strikes. According to the current report, less than five School of Law members opposed the pension scheme.

It also appears that Business people and Mathematicians are quite like-minded: 25 Natural & Mathematical Sciences faculty staff were joined by 20 employees of King’s Business School in taking industrial action.

If we look at percentages, the story doesn’t change that much. Social Science & Public Policy and Arts & Humanities are still the highest ranked, although now the first surpasses the latter with 22% members protesting the pension scheme compared to the latter’s 20%.

Mathematicians now come third, with a significantly lower ratio. Out of the Natural & Mathematical Sciences’ employees, 7% took industrial action.

Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience keeps its fourth place for striking staff even when looking at percentages with 4% of faculty members protesting the cuts.

Life Sciences & Medicine drops two positions in this percentage ranking compared to the previous raw numbers-based one, as it has 3 % staff members on industrial action.

No percentage data was provided for Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, King’s Business School, the Dental Institute, and the School of Law.

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