UEA among universities facing eight days of strikes

60 universities, including UEA, are set for eight days of industrial action from 25 November to 4 December, the University and College Union (UCU) have announced. This strike comes after university campuses were hit with unprecedented strike action last year.

The eight days of industrial action came after UCU members backed it over two issues: pensions, and pay and working conditions. The disputes centre on the recent changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and universities’ failure to improve pay, equality and workloads. UEA are affected by the strike owing to concerns over changes to the USS.

The decision of strike action came aftera ballot that had an overall turnout of 55% for the USS ballot and a 49% turnout on pay and working conditions. As well as the eight strike days, union members will also undertake an “action short of a strike”. This involves working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “The first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions.”

A UEA spokesperson previously stated: “UEA is focused on its mission to support students’ educational attainment and deliver continued research success in a challenging higher education environment and to do that we want to ensure our people are supported in their work.”

They added: “USS pension benefits to scheme members remain unchanged. UEA supports Universities UK’s openness to talks with UCU and Unison to explore how the dispute can be resolved without industrial action, which we believe will be damaging for both university staff and students.”

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Bryan Mfhaladi

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October 2021
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