70,000 university staff to strike for 18 days in February and March

The University and College Union (UCU) have announced they will be striking for 18 days over February and March, in their ongoing dispute over pay, conditions, and pensions.

The strikes follow three days of industrial action in November last year. Over 70,000 members of staff at 150 universities are expected to walk out, with the exact dates of the upcoming action announced next week.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which represents university employers, made UCU a pay offer worth between 4% and 5% on Wednesday. UCU said the offer was ‘not enough’. 

The union also announced a re-ballot of members, to renew UCU’s mandate and allow the union to call action well into 2023.

Over 2.5m students will be affected by the industrial action, which has taken place every year since 2018, although this year’s movement marks the biggest. Many students’ lectures and other university events will be cancelled on strike days.

Staff at Plymouth Marjon University are striking over pay and conditions, however, it is not yet clear how this will affect students.

Today our union came together to back an unprecedented programme of escalating strike action. The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption.

University staff dedicate their lives to education, and they want to get back to work, but that will only happen if university vice-chancellors use the vast wealth of the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant insecure employment practices and devastating pension cuts. The choice is theirs.

Jo Grady

UCU general secretary

Many students on social media were supporting the union but had doubts that 18 days of strike action was necessary.