Approximately 700,000 University and College Union members from 143 universities are being balloted over the next month for strike action concerning disputes over pay and work conditions.

UCU members will be looking for guarantees that universities will tackle the gender pay gap, insecure contracts and excessive workloads.

Concerns also lie within the education sector’s stagnating wages, which has fallen in real terms by 21 percent since 2009.

Many students went several weeks without teaching in February last year following strikes regarding staff pensions, though students as a whole were generally supportive of the move.

This discussion focuses on the failure of universities’ to improve on the two percent offer made at pay talks last year.

In July 2018 UCU contacted Vice-Chancellors around the country requesting their involvement in negotiations in order to push the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) towards an offer that better responded to their demands.

UCU has said that as there is no offer that has been made by UCEA that they are able to recommend to their members, their only alternative is further industrial action.

Matt Waddup, UCU Head of Policy, said: ‘Staff have concerns about spiralling workloads, pay inequality and the continued casualisation of the workforce.

‘Staff want these important issues to be taken seriously, and that includes the 21 percent loss in the value of their pay since 2009, which the recently imposed two percent pay offer does nothing to address.’

This latest round of balloting follows an initial ballot between Thursday 30 August and Friday 19 October 2018 which resulted in many institutions not achieving the 50 percent turnout required for industrial action to become an option.


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