UCU members back strikes over both pensions and pay and conditions
UCU members working in UK universities have backed strike action in ballots over both pensions and pay and working conditions. UCU said the overwhelming mandate for strikes was a serious indictment on the state of higher education and that if universities failed to respond to the sector’s problems then strike action, affecting around a million students, would be inevitable.
Overall, 79% of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the ballot over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) on a turnout of 53%. In the ballot on pay, casualisation, equality and workloads, 74% of members polled backed strike action on a turnout of 49%. The union’s higher education committee is meeting today to consider the results and next steps.
Ahead of the results, the Guardian ran a feature looking at the many reasons staff were being balloted. Today, the paper described staff as disillusioned and angry, while the Telegraph reminded readers that the strike ballots are live for six months. Speaking to the Independent, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘It is incredibly frustrating that we had to ballot members again, but universities only have themselves to blame after failing to address falling real-terms pay and for refusing to deal with casualisation, workloads and the rising cost of USS pensions.’