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BREAKING: UCU Announces More Strike Action In September

Members of the UCU are marching down a street in London. They are carrying placards and a large balloon with 'UCU' written on it floats above.
Source: Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanh1/30376576713

The University and College Union (UCU) today announced its intention to take further strike action this September, as negotiations with employers have broken down.

The Higher Education Committee (HEC) voted this afternoon for this further round of strikes. It also announced it would begin preparations for a new ballot to renew its Industrial Mandate for a further six months, meaning strikes could last well into 2024. Its current mandate is due to expire in October.

The Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) will continue.

UCU General Secretary Dr Jo Grady said in a statement: “Our Higher Education Committee today agreed to hit universities with multiple days of strike action at the start of the coming academic year if vice-chancellors refuse to return to negotiations. We will not be bullied into accepting gig economy universities, nor will we accept employers imposing punitive pay deductions.”

The University & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) Chief Executive Raj Jethwa responded to the announcement: ““UCU’s HEC has made an extremely disappointing decision that, once again, forces UCU members to target students… UCU must be honest with its members about the fact that there is no possibility of a further pay uplift in the 2023-24 pay round and that these aspects of the talks are complete.”

The announcement comes after the Higher Education Minister, Robert Halfon, urged the UCU and UCEA in separate letters to restart negotiations.

Writing to the UCU, Halfon called the MAB “unacceptable”, adding “whatever the rights and wrongs of the current dispute, action that damages students’ prospects is the wrong thing to do.”

The UCU welcomed the letter, with Dr Grady saying “we’ve done everything possible to settle this dispute, protect UK degree standards and students’ graduations, including calling for the talks to restart in the first place.”

For more about the ongoing industrial action, click here.

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