The University and College Union (UCU) announced on Monday that there will be 14 days of escalating strikes that will impact 74 UK Universities, including the University of St. Andrews.
The trade union represents academic, professional, and managerial staff at St. Andrew’s and other universities across the UK. Not all academics and managers are UCU members.
The strikes are to begin on Thursday, February 20th, and escalate each week, concluding with a week-long walkout from March 9th to Friday, March 13th.
The row centers on national pay settlement for university staff, a recent increase in the contribution employees make towards their pensions, concern about working arrangements such as casual contract, and the disagreements over pay and workloads.
In November and December last year in action that affected around one million students, UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight-day. This next wave of strikes will affect another 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students.
The union argues that due to inflation and the austerity measures of the last decade, “staff in higher education have seen the value of their pay decline by 20.8% since 2009.”
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption, they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over wages and conditions.”
St. Andrews has repeatedly argued that as a national dispute, these issues can only be negotiated at a national level. The University argues that it cannot resolve the dispute locally. The University says that it understands the frustration of, “colleagues who have suffered a real-terms decline in the value of their nationally determined remuneration over several years, and who are also concerned about changes to the national Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).”
St. Andrews says it has appealed and will continue to appeal to the UCU and its members to make every effort to avoid, or at the very least minimize, any disruption to St Andrews students.
The full strike dates are:
- Week one – Thursday 20 & Friday, February 21st
- Week two – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday, February 26th
- Week three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday, March 5th
- Week four – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday, March 13th