January 25, 2023 10.00 am This story is over 15 months old

18 dates announced for ‘biggest university strike series ever’

Strike action across seven weeks impacting the universities

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincoln’s two universities will be affected by seven weeks of strikes across February and March – the biggest series of industrial action ever to hit UK campuses.

The University and College Union is currently locked in a dispute with 150 universities over issues surrounding working conditions, pension cuts and pay.

The union will meet with a representative of university of employers on Wednesday, in the hopes it will improve on its 4-5% pay offer, revoke pension cuts and restore benefits.

If this cannot be negotiated, 18 days of strikes will commence through February and March, with over 70,000 university staff walking out to take part.

The University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University staff will be involved throughout, in what is believed to be the largest series of strike action in the history of higher education – should it go ahead.

Staff at the University of Lincoln are striking over pay, pensions & conditions. | Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

The full dates of strike action are:

  • Week 1 – Wednesday, February 1
  • Week 2 – Thursday, February 9 and Friday, February 10
  • Week 3 – Tuesday, February 14, Wednesday, February 15 and Thursday, February 16
  • Week 4 – Tuesday, February 21, Wednesday, February 22 and Thursday, February 23
  • Week 5 – Monday, February 27, Tuesday, February 28, Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 2
  • Week 6 – Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17
  • Week 7 – Monday, March 20, Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22

The UCU will also reballot to its 70,000 members in its dispute to extend the union’s mandate, allowing staff to take further action across the remainder of the academic year.

This campaign is expected to launch on Thursday this week, with the results of the ballot announced in due course.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “The university sector in the UK has over £40 billion sitting in reserves, but instead of using that vast wealth to deliver a cost-of-living pay rise and reverse devastating pension cuts, university vice-chancellors would rather force staff to take strike action and see campuses shut down.

“There is a clear route out of these disputes, but at present vice-chancellors lack the political will to take it. They are failing staff who want to get back to work, and students who want to get on with their studies.

“Students understand that staff working conditions are their learning conditions and we are proud to have their support in these disputes. A system that relies on low pay and the rampant use of insecure contracts is a system which fails everyone.

“A resolution can be reached, but that is in the gift of university vice-chancellors who need to urgently reassess their priorities and deliver a deal that benefits staff and students. From February, our union will begin reballoting its members to allow action to continue through the rest of the academic year, should they continue to drag their feet.”

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