The UCU has announced the dates its members will be striking throughout February and March. Up to 70,000 staff will form picket lines at 150 UK universities, according to the UCU.
Strike action will take place over seven weeks.
Week 1 – Wednesday 1 February
Week 2 – Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
Week 3 – Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15, and Thursday 16 February
Week 4 – Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22, and Thursday 23 February
Week 5 – Monday 27, Tuesday 28 February, Wednesday 1, and Thursday 2 March
[No action week commencing Monday 6 March]
Week 6 – Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
Week 7 – Monday 20, Tuesday 21, and Wednesday 22 March
In their statement announcing the dates, the UCU stressed that they are provisional. If the UCU receives a pay offer for its members deemed satisfactory, the strikes will not go ahead. So far, the UCU has rejected a 4-5% pay increase from the university employer representative the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. They are demanding a better deal, citing the cost-of-living crisis.
If the strikes go ahead, they will be the largest in UK higher education history.
The UCU also want planned cuts to pensions to be reversed.
Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said: “The university sector in the UK has over £40bn 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.
“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.”
UCU strikes on pay and pensions also took place last year for 3 days in November 2022.
The union also plans to re-ballot its members to allow strike action until the end of the academic year.