The UCU Strike stays solid

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Camden UNISON Branch Secretary Liz Wheatley hands cheques for £326.76 to UCU strikers at UCL, Gower St

UCU members in universities continued their 14 days of action this week with picket lines, protests and teach-outs.

The dispute centres on the sustainability of the staff pension scheme (known as the USS) including rising contribution costs for members, and on universities’ failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight days in November and December last year in action that affected around one million students. This next wave of strikes affects another 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students, as more UCU branches crossed a 50% turnout threshold required by law for them to take industrial action.

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

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘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.”

At the Camden UNISON AGM we heard from a striker about what it’s like to work in a university today, and we voted unanimously to support their strike action and make a donation from the branch. A further £126.76 was collected by members in the meeting.

 

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