University workers to stage fresh round of strikes

The University and College Union said its members at 13 Scottish universities will take part in 14 days of strike action.

University workers to stage fresh round of strikes Pixabay
Action: University staff will walkout in a dispute over pay, rising pension costs and working conditions.

Staff at 13 Scottish universities will stage a fresh walkout in a dispute over pay, rising pension costs and working conditions, it has been announced.

The University and College Union (UCU) said its members at 74 UK universities would take part in 14 days of strike action during February and March.

The action will start on Thursday, February 20 and will escalate each week – culminating in a week-long walkout from March 9 to 13.

If the disputes fail to be resolved within this wave of strikes, the union has warned it will ballot members again, which could see branches take action until the end of the academic year.

UCU members at 60 universities previously walked out for eight days in November and December last year in action that affected around one million students.

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

Alongside industrial action, members have continued action “short of a strike” – including working “strictly to contract”, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

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

Strike dates

  • Week one: Thursday 20 and Friday, February 21
  • Week two: Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday, February 26
  • Week three: Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday, March 5
  • Week four: Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday, March 13

Universities affected

Both disputes:

  • The University of Aberdeen
  • The University of Dundee
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Glasgow
  • Heriot Watt University
  • The Open University in Scotland
  • The University of St Andrews
  • The University of Stirling
  • The University of Strathclyde

Pay and conditions dispute only:

  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • Queen Margaret University

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions dispute only:

  • Scottish Association for Marine Science