BREAKING: University and College Union announce strikes in spring

Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons

The University and College Union (UCU) announced on October 31 that a strike movement could take place during the spring semester in 43 universities, affecting over 950.000 students in the UK.

UCU members working in UK Universities have voted to back strike action over pensions pay and working conditions.

79% of the voters backed strike action on changes made to the University Superannuation Scheme (which is the largest private pension system for UK higher education staff).

74% of the voters backed strike action on working conditions.

The University of Kent passed the 50% turnout threshold to back a strike on working conditions, with just 50.5% of eligible voters attending the vote.

Of the 870 present members, 74.77% declared they were ready to take industrial action against the current working conditions and pay in universities.

Regarding the University Superannuation Scheme ballot, the University of Kent did not meet the 50% turnout threshold to justify strike action (with only 49.71% turnout), but 80.33% of those present said they were indeed ready to take industrial action.

During the meeting, UCU said: ‘the overwhelming mandate for strikes was a serious indictment on the state of higher education."

"If universities fail to respond to the sector’s problems then strike action, affecting around a million students, will be inevitable.”

The UCU’s Higher Education executives are meeting on Friday November, 1 to decide their next course of action. The strike is said to potentially take place any time over the next six months.

The University of Kent has been approached for comment.