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BREAKING: UCU Announces National University Staff Strike

Source: "It's No game", Flickr

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that university staff have voted ‘yes’ on national strike action. 

28/10/22 Update: See our full interview with Dr. Ewan McGaughey, President of the King’s UCU branch

In what UCU general secretary Jo Grady has called an “unprecedented mandate for strike action”, the union has beat the anti-union threshold of 50% turnout to pass two national ballots.

In May 2022, Roar gave an overview of UCU strike action up to that point. As we’ve seen previously, this is the latest development in a long series of strike action over the last several years.

There are two separate ballots which were voted on: one for pay and working conditions and another for cuts to staff pensions. Both of these ballots have been the subject of numerous disputes between the union and universities. In February this year, the UCU and King’s College London reached an agreement though it did not last with strikes continuing in May.

Moreover, what makes this different from the UCU strikes at KCL last academic year is that there is a mandate for national action, as opposed to university-level action.

Dr. Ewan McGaughey, President of the KCL branch of the UCU issued this statement in response to the vote: “Our colleagues at KCL have voted overwhelmingly, like university staff around the country, for an end to pay and pension cuts while there are tuition fee hikes in a national ballot. We also have secured leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal to sue the University pension directors for breaching their duties in predicting a deficit when there was none, and in failing to divest fossil fuels that risk incredible detriment to finances and life on Earth. University employers need to have a positive agenda for investing in research and education, by raising staff pay and pensions – not cutting them – placing staff voice at the centre of higher education, and protecting job security. KCL UCU also has the mandate to do a further local strike ballot. We want to negotiate constructively, and reach a deal now for fair pay, democracy and equality in our university – and to be a model for our sector.”

The UCU Higher Education Committee will meet on 3 November to decide what the next steps will be. As of yet, we do not know what form the action will take. Roar will be updating readers with the latest.

You can read the latest news published by the UCU at ucu.org.uk.

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