The strike, which the University and College Union (UCU) called “unprecedented,” was confirmed with dates.
UCU, which represents UK university sector workers, said 70,000 members are due to walk out in February and March due to disputes over wages, working conditions and pension cuts.
The strikes will affect up to 150 universities, which will be canceled only if university employers make significant improvements to the proposals.
Full strike dates next month: Wednesday, February 1, Thursday, 9, Friday, 10, Tuesday, 14, Wednesday, 15, Thursday, 16, Tuesday, 21, Wednesday, February 22, Thursday, 23, Monday, 27, Tuesday, 28.
For March, these are: Wednesday 1, Thursday 2 March, Thursday 16, Friday 17, Monday 20, Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22.
BREAKING: NOTICE SERVED ON UNIVERSITY EMPLOYERS
18 days of strike action in February and March
9, 10 Feb
14, 15, 16 Feb
21, 22, 23 Feb
27, 28 Feb. 1, 2 March
16, 17 March
20, 21, 22 March
RT if you back our members
— UCU (@ucu) January 24, 2023
Today (January 25), UCU will hold a meeting with a representative of university employers, the Association of University and College Employers.
UCU said it needed employers to significantly improve the 4-5 percent wage offer to avoid disruptions. UCU noted on its website that members are “demanding substantial wage increases to overcome the cost-of-living crisis, as well as action to end the use of unreliable contracts.”
In the pension dispute, UCU is fighting for employers to cancel the cuts and restore benefits. “The package of cuts made last year will lead to the fact that the average participant will lose 35 percent of his guaranteed future retirement income. For those who are at the beginning of their career, losses amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds,” the message on the UCU website says.
In addition, UCU will also hold a repeat vote among 70,000 members at 150 controversial universities to extend the union’s mandate and allow employees to take further action before the end of the academic year. The re-voting campaign is due to start this week.
UCU General Secretary Joe Grady said: “There are more than £40 billion in reserves in the UK university sector, but rather than using this huge wealth to raise the cost of living and reverse devastating pension cuts, university vice-chancellors will rather force staff to go on strike and oversee campus closures.
“There is a clear way out of these disputes, but currently vice-chancellors lack the political will to use it. These are failed employees who want to return to work, and students who want to continue their studies.
“Students understand that the working conditions of employees are their learning conditions, and we are proud of their support in these disputes. A system based on low pay and rampant use of unprotected contracts is a system that lets everyone down.
“A solution can be reached, but it is a gift from the vice-chancellors of universities, who urgently need to reconsider their priorities and conclude a deal that will benefit staff and students. Starting in February, our union will begin re-voting its members to allow the actions to continue until the end of the school year if they continue to stall for time.”
A full list of higher education institutions affected by the strike can be found here.
In other related news, electronic music pioneer Richie Hawtin is about to launch a new scholarship program at the University of Huddersfield.
The Richie Houtin PhD Scholarship in Electronic Music, Culture and Production will include personal training from Houtin, who over the past 30 years has shaped the techno music course with his recordings under his Plastikman and F.U.S.E. pseudonyms.