UCU strikes to return this week at Warwick and across the country
UCU strikes will return this week with action on Wednesday 15, Thursday 16, and Friday 17 March.
Action will also take place on 20, 21, and 22 March.
This comes after a two-week break when the UCU and employers were in a process of negotiations, which appear to have failed to pass.
Industrial action focused on pay and working conditions will happen at 83 universities, while five institutions will strike over pensions. 62 universities, including Warwick, will strike on both issues.
For staff across the country, pay is a major focus of their disputes due to inflationary pay cuts experienced during and in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. For 2022-23 pay rounds, unions have asked for a pay rise that is either the RPI measure of inflation, +2% or 12%, whichever is higher. They’ve also asked for an end to all uses of zero-hour and temporary contracts.
For those striking due to pensions, the UCU claims that the average member “will lose 35% from their guaranteed future retirement income” due to a change in the valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – the primary system of pension funds for university staff.
The UCU claims the change in valuation was “flawed” due to the fact that it occurred at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when “financial markets were crashing”, and therefore the USS recorded a deficit where it should’ve seen a surplus.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “The employer chose to put out their pay offer and make it clear that it is final and that universities can implement the initial element of that pay offer.
“We need to be absolutely crystal clear; this is not a pay offer that has been agreed with us as a union, or any of the other unions involved in the negotiations.”
The group Warwick Student Staff Solidarity told The Boar: “As a solidarity group, we recognise the importance of strike action as a means to leverage collective power to fight for inclusive education and fair pay, pensions and working conditions for those that deliver it.
“We will therefore be present at the picket line as always, showing solidarity between student and staff and making it clear that this is a common fight we are fighting against employers and university management.”
One anonymous student told The Boar: “I fully stand behind the strike action and our staff. Despite the obvious disruption it causes, the strike action is necessary to ensure staff pay and an end to casualisation.”
Alternatively, another student said: “Students feel that we are being used as bargaining chips by the strikers. They earn higher than average wage and don’t have the worst working conditions. Worse things have not led to strikes”
The University of Warwick has been contacted for comment.