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BREAKING: UCU Pauses Strikes Without Consulting University Branches

Courtesy of Roar photographer Elizabeth Grace

On 17 February the University and College Union (UCU) announced that the next two weeks of planned strike action would be paused pending negotiations with employers.

This means the strikes scheduled for February 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 27th and 28th and for March 1st and 2nd will not go ahead, meaning reading week and the week after will not be affected by strike action.

UCU cites “significant progress” made “across a range of issues” in their talks with university employers. Dr. Jo Grady, the UCU general secretary, stated that the decision to pause the strikes was made in order to encourage constructive discussion. The significant progress is mainly in the realm of restoring USS pensions, improving work conditions and pay gaps, and ending zero-hour contracts.

There will also be a re-ballot to extend industrial actions for another six months if talks fall through.

Many university branches are speaking out against UCU’s decision, citing the fact that the union did not consult any branches ahead of their announcement.

UCU has emphasised that this is a pause, not an end, to the strikes. The union is urging branches to rally together in support of the negotiation process. However, many branch members are reviving the use of the #NoCapitulation hashtag in protest of pausing strike action without a firm deal with employers.

#NoCapitulation was used in 2018 to demand that UCU drop an unpopular agreement with university employers pertaining to pensions. The hashtag was credited with rallying academics against the negotiation outcomes in 2018. The revival of #NoCapitulation may signal a similar sentiment emerging for the current dispute.

Read Roar’s coverage of the 2023 UCU strikes here 

Stay up to date with King College London’s UCU branch here


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