Industrial action

updated Feb 2022: Action began in many universities beginning Dec 2021 in the ongoing dispute about USS pensions, pay and equality issues (Four fights). See:

and There is ongoing ASOS in various HE institutions


Ballots are due to be opened on Oct 18 2021 in a number of universities regarding USS pensions and pay and equality issues:  see


Strikes in HE branches over USS and pay and equality issues were held in Nov 2019 See:

Most FAQs or update on the current situation can be answered via


Simultaneous HE strike ballots over pay and pensions (1 July 2019)

UCU’s general secretary, Jo Grady, updated HE members on the simultaneous strike ballots over pay and USS opening on Sep 9 until 30 October.

She told members that UCU’s annual congress had voted to prepare for another round of strike action to defend our pensions while also launching a new national campaign to secure a fair deal from both pre- and post-92 employers on pay, workload, equality, and job security. UCU’s Higher Education Committe then decided on 28 June to run both strike ballots at the same time, rather than consecutively.

The ballots will run from 9 September to 30 October. Members in branches where UCU has registered a dispute over USS will receive two ballot papers – one for pay, workload, equality and job security and one for USS. Members in other and post-92 branches will receive one ballot paper.

Our demands for USS
For USS, our demands are simple. USS has lost its members’ trust and rejected some of the Joint Expert Panel’s most important proposals. If implemented now, those proposals would lead to a contribution rate no higher than 26%, as it was before the 2017 valuation. We want employers to use their considerable influence over the scheme to hold USS’s managers to account. If they refuse to do so, we want them to meet the full cost of contribution increases above the rate of 26%, rather than forcing some of them on to members.

A comprehensive deal for university staff on pay, equality, workload, and job security
At the same time, we want employers to move towards a sustainable, equitable business model that puts staff first. Our demands are laid out in the campus unions’¬†annual claim for 2019-20. These include:

  • reducing the number of zero-hours and hourly paid positions
  • working to close the gender and ethnicity pay gaps
  • limiting unsafe, excessive workloads
  • increasing pay by 3% plus RPI.

There is more info within the Info for reps section regarding GTVO for the ballots