UCU members continue to fight for equal pay announcing more strike dates

Written by on 17th March 2023

The university and college union (UCU) announced five additional days of strikes.

Since 2009 UCU members pay has been cut by 25%. An offer was made in of a pay rise of 4-5% for the 2023-24 round, but, no improvement had been made on the 3% offer for 2022-23. This is not seen by the union as a “serious attempt to resolve the dispute”.

Steve Cannon, a senior lecturer at the University of Sunderland and rep for the UCU, said: “Our branch had a meeting yesterday to discuss the conclusion of talks at ACAS and there are delegate meetings today where our national response will be decided.

“I think it’s in the balance whether we go to a ballot on the proposed ‘settlement’ or press ahead with strikes and a re-ballot to try to win more.

“The claim has always been for a fair pay deal, by which we mean something that begins to address the decline in our salaries (25% down since 2009) and the cost of living crisis.”

The strikes also mean that students at university are at risk of missing out on education that they have paid for.

The students union at the University of Sunderland have conducted research concluding that “The majority (of students) don’t feel affected or are only slightly affected by the strikes.”

They went on to say: “It’s our understanding that University is working on mitigating the impact and making up for lost teaching wherever possible.”

Mr Cannon also addressed the impact of the strikes on students, saying: “Our members care deeply about their students and regret that they are caught in the middle of the dispute – the responsibility for that lies with the employers: in a hugely profitable sector they continue to force down the pay of the people who do the life-changing work.

“We are absolutely opposed to tuition fees as a way of funding HE. Education should be free and accessible to all. Our branch organised the student coaches that went to the tuition fee demos when Cameron and Clegg raised fees, so it’s not just rhetoric!

“Equally we see our fight for better pay and conditions as part of a fight for better learning conditions for students. We have a common interest in the future of Universities.”

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