A 10-day university strike beginning Feb. 14, 2022, would affect over a million students on 68 UK university campuses, according to the University and College Union (UCU). This followed disagreements among university employees about pensions, salary, and conditions for workers.
The university strikes, according to UCU, are a fight for the future of higher education, and employees are at a “breaking point” following a decade of pension cuts, dropping wages, and worsening conditions for workers.
According to UCU, around 50,000 university employees are expected to strike. UCU is the union that represents university employees. Employer pension proposals indicate that employees’ guaranteed retirement income will be reduced by 35%.
The first five days of the strike will be devoted to the USS pension dispute; week two will be devoted to both the pension and the pay and working conditions dispute, and the last three days of the university strike will be devoted to the pay and working conditions conflict.
Additional strike action is planned, including rolling regional and UK-wide action in salary and working conditions, as well as a UK-wide boycott of marking and assessment.
UCU has stated that in order to end the pay and working conditions dispute, it is requesting a £2,500 wage raise for all employees, as well as steps to address unsustainable workloads, pay inequity, and the use of unstable and exploitative agreements.
“It is a damning indictment of the way our universities are managed that staff is being left with no option but to walk out again,” said Jo Grady, UCU general secretary.
It is absolutely shameful that in exchange for a sector valued at tens of billions of pounds and experiencing historic levels of student growth, staff face savage pension cuts, declining wages, and are pushed to breaking point under poor working conditions.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady stated that employees require a reasonable pay raise, action to address insecure contracts, unsafe workloads, pay inequity, and the repeal of catastrophic pension cuts. Following disagreements over Universities Superannuation Scheme pensions, staff at 58 UK universities went on strike for three days in December.
According to the most current declared university finances, overall income throughout the sector was £41.9 billion in 2019/20, with reserves of £46.8 billion. It was revealed this week, that record numbers of students are studying at UK universities, with enrolment up by 9% this year.
Furthermore, many university employees are struggling to make ends meet, with 90,000 academic and professional support personnel working on precarious contracts. Staff at universities affected by strike action are also engaging in non-strike industrial action.
Working strictly on a contract basis, not substituting for missing employees, not rescheduling classes or courses cancelled due to strike action, and not participating in any voluntary activities are all examples of strike-related activities.
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