What’s going on?
Late yesterday, the University and College Union announced that there will be 14 days of strike action in February and March, affecting 74 universities. KCL is one such university. Strikes will take place over four weeks in an escalating effort:
- Week 1 – Thursday 20th & Friday 21st of February.
- Week 2 – Monday 24th, Tuesday 25th, and Wednesday 26th of February.
- Week 3 – Monday 2nd, Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th, and Thursday 5th of March.
- Week 4 – Monday 9th, Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th, and Friday 13th of March.
On the listed days, as Roar understands, there will be no lectures. GTAs are also able to strike, and this will likely impact seminars too. It is possible that striking staff will instead offer ‘teach outs’, more informal classes geared around social campaigning issues – or just fun topics.
Along with strike days, staff will also be taking ‘action short of a strike’. This means working strictly to contract, not providing cover for colleagues, refusing to reschedule lectures and so on.
What are they striking about?
The UCU as a whole has balloted on two issues – the sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (recent changes to which will cost staff tens of thousands of pounds from their pension pay-outs), and university failures to improve on pay, equality, and workload.
The KCL UCU is only striking with regard to the first issue.
Importantly, this is not a one-off effort. UCU general secretary Jo Grady said that: “We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.”
Roar will maintain full coverage of the strikes as they unfold. We will keep everyone up to date as to causes, duration, and impact upon both staff and students.