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Strikes to be paused at Welsh unis for a period of two weeks in February and March

Seven days of strike action will put on hold

Staff at Welsh universities will be pausing their strike action for a period of two weeks over February and March.

Industrial action which was due to take place on 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 27th and 28th February and 1st and 2nd of March will not be taking place. However, the strikes on 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st and 22nd March will go ahead as planned.

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said the decision was made to enable a “period of calm” and that progress has been made regarding negotiations about pensions, working conditions and pay.

People responded on Twitter to the news with most people commenting negative opinions on the UCU’s post about the pause. The majority of those with concerns about the pause said that they were worried that the decision was premature.

Lecturer Ben Wilkinson said: “Has a union ever won a fair deal for its members by calling off strike action during ongoing negotiations? From this, it doesn’t sound like much of any of a deal is on the table yet.”

Daragh O’Reilly, writer and research, also voiced his view, saying that he’d seen this “several times before” and warned the UCU that it was being played by universities.

The announcement of the pause in strike action comes as university support staff cancelled their strikes due to a recent pay offer.

Mike Short, Unison’s head of education said: “Improving the wages of the lowest paid university employees is a crucial step. Cleaners, domestic staff and others at the bottom of the pay scales have been in dire need of help.

“The pay structure in the sector has been unfit for purpose for years, with far too many staff earning just the minimum wage with little chance to progress in their careers.

“The fact that talks are to continue is a positive move. It’s vital that progress is made in improving the wages of everyone working in higher education.”

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