Staff from 58 universities, including Cambridge and Durham are going to strike over pension cuts, pay and working conditions, the University and College Union (UCU) have announced.
Taking place from 1-3 December, the three-day disruption “will just be the the start”, says the UCU’s general secretary, Jo Grady. If university leaders still refuse to abolish the pension cuts, more strike action will be taken.
It is estimated that the new Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) would result in a 35% decline in the promised retirement income of an average staff member.
The Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association strongly condemned the strike action: “UCU members need to understand that any industrial action aimed at harming students is an unrealistic attempt to try to force all 146 employers to reopen the concluded 2021-22 national pay round and improve on an outcome that is for most of these institutions already at the very limit of what is affordable.”
The UCU carried out a series of industrial actions in 2019 and early 2020 over similar disputes which caused disruption in universities across the UK.
Between 2009 and 2019, wages for university staff have dropped by 17.6% relative to inflation, the UCU notes.
This Podcast interviews university students in London and reveals their thoughts and concerns over the upcoming strike action, as well as their plans of study during the walkout.
Words and Images: by Catherine Chu | Subbing: Sarah Chaffey