Students face ‘mass disruption’ to university as lecturers could walk out this autumn in pay row


Threat of ‘mass disruption’ to students as university lecturers could walk out this autumn in row over pensions, pay and conditions

  • Universities’ union to hold ballot in dispute over pensions, pay and conditions
  • Union general secretary Jo Grady said vice-chancellors ‘pushed’ staff to strikes
  • Already 15 strikes days this year – and 40 branches currently boycotting marking
  • Universities UK said ‘huge cost increases for both employers and staff avoided’

Universities across the UK could face ‘unprecedented’ strike action this autumn, causing disruption to hundreds of thousands of students.

The University and College Union (UCU) has authorised a ballot of all higher education members in a long-running dispute over pensions and pay and conditions.

Strikes may follow across campuses in November, along with further ballots for industrial action in spring 2023.

UCU says the ballot will be aggregated which means that if it achieves an overall turnout of 50 per cent or above, and a majority yes vote, all universities across the UK will be hit by strike action.

'Time is running out and we hope vice chancellors finally see sense and address the long-standing concerns of staff. If they don't, mass disruption will be entirely their fault,' said UCU general secretary Jo Grady (pictured)

‘Time is running out and we hope vice chancellors finally see sense and address the long-standing concerns of staff. If they don’t, mass disruption will be entirely their fault,’ said UCU general secretary Jo Grady (pictured)

Institutions have already experienced 15 days of strikes this year, and around 40 branches are currently taking part in a marking boycott, with staff refusing to undertake marking and assessment duties.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘By attacking pensions, cutting pay and continually refusing to negotiate in good faith, vice chancellors have pushed staff towards taking more strike action, and now university staff are set to join the wave of industrial action sweeping the UK.

‘Time is running out and we hope vice chancellors finally see sense and address the long-standing concerns of staff. If they don’t, mass disruption will be entirely their fault.’

A Universities UK spokesman said pension reforms have already been implemented and ‘huge cost increases for both employers and staff avoided’.

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