BGU staff to strike again over pay and conditions

Staff at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) in Lincoln will take part in 14 days of strike action over pay and conditions later this month, according to the University College Union (UCU).

As previously reported, sixty UK universities were affected by the last round of strikes over pensions, pay and working conditions in November and December. 43 of the universities were affected by strike action on both disputes, and BGU was one of 14 affected by the pay and conditions dispute only.

At the time BGU said it was working closely with both its academic colleagues and students to minimise the impact on the students.

The UCU has since announced 14 further days of strike action for members at 74 UK universities, including at BGU, which will take place between Thursday, February 20 and Friday, March 13. UCU said the length of walkouts will escalate over four weeks, culminating with a week-long walkout from March 9-13.

As well as the strike days, union members are undertaking “action short of a strike”, which involves things such as working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU will also run fresh ballots to allow more strikes if disputes are not resolved.

The disputes centre on universities’ failure to make improvements to pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. Since the last strikes more UCU branches crossed a 50% turnout threshold required by law for them to take industrial action.

The full strike dates are as follows:

  • Week One – Thursday and Friday, February 20-21
  • Week Two – Monday to Wednesday, February 24-26
  • Week Three – Monday to Thursday, March 2-5
  • Week Four – Monday to Friday, March 9-13

UCU said strike mandates are only legally valid for six months, so branches who walked out in November would need to secure a fresh mandate to be able to continue to take action after April.

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said: ‘If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to send their representatives back to the national negotiating table with solutions to deal 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 later this month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for action to continue until the end of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.”

The Lincolnite approached BGU for a comment.

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