More than 70,000 university staff will begin 18 days of strike action next month it has been confirmed. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will stage their first walkout on Wednesday, February 1.
A further 17 days of action are also planned across February and March with the precise dates for those to be announced next week.
The union is in dispute with 150 universities across the country regarding pay, pensions and working conditions. They say they are demanding 'a meaningful pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.'
The UCU claims that at a meeting on Monday (January, 16) the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which represents university employers declined to improve its pay offer worth between four percent and five percent, which the union claims is 'not good enough.'
They say the date had been chosen to coincide with the Trade Union Congress's ‘protect the right to strike’ day when four other unions - the NEU, ASLEF, PCS, and RMT - are all also walking out.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘Whilst the cost-of-living crisis rages, university vice-chancellors are dragging their feet and refusing to use the vast wealth in the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant casualisation and massive pension cuts.
"On 1 February, 70,000 university staff will walk out alongside fellow trade unions and hundreds of thousands of other workers to demand their fair share.
"UCU remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, but if university employers don’t get serious and fast, more strike action will follow in February and March."