UCU announces second strike period of the academic year

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Trade Union University and College Union has announced 14 strike days at 74 U.K. Universities including Lancaster in February and March.

Strike action will begin on Thursday the 20th of February and is set to end on Friday the 13th March. Action will be taken to address disputes arising over pay, working conditions and rising pension costs.

The planned dates for the strikes are:

  • Week One – Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February
  • Week Two – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Thursday 26 February
  • Week Three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March
  • Week Four – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

This is the second strike of the 2019-2020 academic year, with members of the UCU walking out for eight days last November and December.

UCU General Secretary Jo Grady said:

‘If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

‘We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes starting later this month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for action until the end of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.’

Jo Grady

Lancaster University provided SCAN with the following statement:

Lancaster University is committed to achieving the fairest possible pay and pension for staff, and Lancaster will continue work to positively influence negotiations at a national level, while recognising that outcomes must be affordable and sustainable for Lancaster University in the long term.

This dispute has arisen as a result of national pay and pension issues, most of which are outside Lancaster University’s control. 

This further planned strike action is disappointing at a time when positive national-level talks on the future of pensions, pay and working conditions are making significant progress and are ongoing.

We particularly regret the impact of this on our students, who have already been through other periods of strike action and on colleagues across the university, who will be working hard to minimise disruption and ensure that students are supported in their studies and assessment. 

The dispute also centres on equality, employment contracts and workloads, three issues which we take seriously and are actively working to improve. Our new fixed-term contracts and casual working policy is an example of sector-leading change to address casualisation within Higher Education.

We maintain that the best way forward is to work collectively to secure a pension scheme that is highly valued and affordable for all.

Lancaster University

This is an ongoing story.

Olivia Kenny

Hi! I'm Olivia (but everyone calls me Liv) and I'm the Associate Editor for SCAN for 2019-2020. I was previously the News Editor and have contributed to the section since the beginning of my first year. Now in my third year, SCAN is a huge part of my University life. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you!

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