UCU announces 18 days of strike action and marking boycott

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The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that there will be 18 days of national strike action taking place in February and March. They have also said an assessment and marking boycott will take place in April “which will hit summer graduations.” 

More than 70,000 staff are expected to participate across 150 Universities including Durham. According to the UCU’s website the exact dates of the strike will be announced next week.

The latest wave of strikes will be the second time this academic year where the UCU have taken action, with the Union previously carrying out strike action last term. Some action has continued between this period, with Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) still continuing until April. 

However, unlike the last wave of strike action, which only saw three days of teaching impacted. 25% of Epiphany Term could be impacted depending on the dates announced. 

The Higher Education Committee (HEC) also agreed to re-ballot its members to allow for a continuation of action after the current mandate ends in April.

the 18 days of strike action could potentially impact 25% of Epiphany Term

The UCU is taking industrial action after their members voted in favour of action in October last year over their ongoing pensions dispute, and issues regarding pay and working conditions. The UCU have called for a pay rise for staff in light of the cost-of-living crisis and for cuts to the USS pension fund to be reversed. 

While the UCU were offered a pay deal earlier this week by the Universities and College Employers Association of between 4% and 5% this was rejected. 

The UCU General Secretary Jo Grady said “Today our union came together to back an unprecedented programme of escalating strike action. The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption.

“University staff dedicate their lives to education and they want to get back to work, but that will only happen if university vice-chancellors use the vast wealth of the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant insecure employment practices and devastating pension cuts. The choice is theirs.”

Durham University are yet to release a statement on the latest announcement. 

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