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Four weeks of strikes ahead as discussions fail

University staff are set to participate in another strike action over pensions, pay and working conditions starting on Thursday 20 February until 13 March. Staff from 74 universities, including UEA, will walk out later this month and in March, marking a second strike following the action in November and December last year, with only 60 universities taking part of it. UEA University and College Union (UCU) members are affected by the strike as they dispute over pay and working conditions as well as the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions. With the increase in the number of universities from 60 to 74, this means that about 6,000 additional members will now be able to take action. This means that around 1.2 million students are set to be affected by the strike action.

Strike action comes after talks between the UCU and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association failed to strike a workable deal. The disputes are centred on the sustainability of the USS and raising costs for members and universities’ failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. UCU general secretary Jo Grady said in a statement:  “We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.”

She added: “’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 next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.”

The union also warned it would ballot members after this wave of strikes if the disputes could not be resolved, to ensure branches could take action until the end of the academic year.

11/02/2020

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Bryan Theo Mfhaladi