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Academic Strikes on the Table

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Students could be facing disruption this term after the academics' union opened a ballot over pay, pensions, and conditions.

According to the University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady, the UK's university sector was built on the exploitation of staff.

In particular, she said the sector had experienced a decade of pension cuts, collapsing pay and insecure contracts.

The union is now demanding amongst other things, a £2,500 pay increase across all pay points, a framework to end zero-hour contracts, a withdrawal of pension cuts and an end to pay injustice.

Ms Grady also accused institutions of spending their increased fee and research income on extravagant building projects, advertising and advice from consultants, rather than on staff.

Commenting on the ballot, chief executive Raj Jethwa of the University and Colleges Employers Association, said: "We are disappointed that UCU is encouraging its members to ballot for action which is specifically designed to disrupt teaching and learning for students who have endured so many recent upheavals."

"The final offer from employers was fair and meaningful in the context of the sector's ongoing delicate financial situation."

"We very much hope the trade union members understand the considerable pressures which continue to face their HE (higher education) institutions. The financial impact of Covid-19 continues to affect these HE institutions, alongside declines in other income sources."