Confusion as UCU announces strikes that fall outside of Durham term time

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Last week the University and College Union (UCU) announced another five days of strike action, beginning on Monday 21st March with the aim to impact  ”well over a million students” in the UK after “employers forced through pension cuts and refused to negotiate meaningfully over pay and working conditions”.

This has sparked confusion among members of Durham UCU as the dates announced by the central Union fall outside termtime, so would likely have minimal impact on Durham students.

In an email to members, they said that they hoped the action would “ensure that the disruption continues across the sector until the end of term” and that action had been coordinated “to ensure that branches are taking action during term time.”

The UCU say they have called this further action, yet members of the Durham UCU, as well as the branch itself have raised concern about the lack of communication in determining strike dates.

Concerning the action, the Durham UCU branch said on Twitter: “This process underlines just how important it is that branches are listened to and heard clearly in decision-making over strike action.”

One Durham lecturer said: “I’m disrupting my own research and nothing else. I’ll have REF outputs next time if there is one. The University will not care.”

Palatinate understands that Durham UCU itself was not aware that the dates would be outside of the University’s term until after they were announced and that plans for how teaching staff would observe the strike are not finalised, however picketing open days is an option.

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