One more day of uni strikes added in March as UCU announces progress in talks

There will now be six upcoming strike dates this month

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that its members will now strike on 15th March.

This is in addition to the five upcoming strike dates expected on 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd March.

The strikes are a part of UCU’s ongoing disputes with university employers over pay, working conditions, and pensions that affect 150 unis around the UK, including 31 universities in London.

UCU’s General Secretary, Jo Grady, said the date was added to “focus the employers’ mind” and “have on them the maximum amount of pressure” during negotiations, in which she said progress is being made.

The UCU represents academic staff like lecturers and tutors at UK universities and colleges. Over the past few years, it has called numerous strikes, action short of strikes, and marking boycotts over two disputes with their employers: one for better pay and working conditions, and the other against cuts to pensions and benefits.

After nine days of strikes so far this academic year, it appears a settlement is near in the disputes as the union announced a two-week pause in strikes until today, 3rd March. This meant seven previously-announced strike dates were cancelled.

Jo Grady said then: “This progress is for real, and the threat to our employers remains. We are standing down two weeks of action.

“The employers know that we will not walk away from this dispute. We have also been crystal clear that the aim of this dispute is not to take strike action. It is to reach an agreement. We do not want you on picket lines for a minute longer than you have to. We take your sacrifices very seriously.”

The General Secretary repeated the news of progress in the most recent announcement about adding a strike date this month.

She said: “I’m pleased to say – that whilst Acas talks take place on a confidential basis, I can say that we are making progress across a range of subjects at Acas and will bring your more information on that as those talks come to a natural conclusion.

“What you also saw last week was that 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 reason we’ve added this additional date is to focus the employer’s mind as talks come to a conclusion this week and especially early next week. They need to have on them the maximum amount of pressure.

“What we now need to do is force the employer to sign off these commitments at Acas, continue to go further than they have gone before, to recognise the depth of feeling that is out there on pay, and improve their pay offer.”

If no settlement is reached by April, the union said they’ll call marking boycotts to “strategically target the summer finals.”

The 31 London universities affected by the current dispute, along with over 150 unis around the country, are:

  1. Birkbeck, University of London
  2. Brunel University London
  3. City, University of London
  4. Courtauld Institute of Art
  5. University of East London
  6. Goldsmiths, University of London
  7. University of Greenwich
  8. Imperial College London
  9. King’s College London
  10. Kingston University
  11. London Metropolitan University
  12. London School of Economics
  13. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  14. London South Bank University
  15. Middlesex University
  16. Queen Mary, University of London
  17. Roehampton University
  18. Royal Academy of Music
  19. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  20. Royal College of Art
  21. Royal College of Music
  22. Royal Holloway, University of London
  23. Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  24. Senate House, University of London
  25. SOAS, University of London
  26. St George’s, University of London
  27. St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  28. University College London
  29. University of the Arts London
  30. University of West London
  31. University of Westminster

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Here’s how the university strikes will impact you as London students

Confirmed: UCU has announced all 18 strikes dates in February and March for London unis