Teaching staff and lecturers at universities across the UK will vote on whether or not to take strike action in the autumn, after universities failed to commit to a fair pensions offer for staff before the imposed deadline.
The University and College Union (UCU) wrote to 69 institutions at the start of June to warn that they would prepare for industrial action if they failed to rule out increases to the university pension programme.
UCU will run pay and pension strike ballots in the academic year. Universities warned they will be hit with industrial action if they do not make a decent pay offer to staff and secure pensions for members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme #USS https://t.co/Qrdim3WgRe
— UCU (@ucu) June 28, 2019
Staff at each university will vote on strike action and pay from 9th September to 30th October, and the union’s Higher Education Committee (HEC) will then set a timeline for any planned industrial action.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is the dedicated pension scheme for university staff, whose contributions are set to increase by almost 3% by 2020.
Paul Bridges, head of higher education at the UCU, stated that ‘USS members are running out of patience and want universities to start acting in their interests’. The union also stated that universities had done nothing to address the real terms pay cut to their staff’s wages, which has fallen by 21% over the last ten years.
Industrial action carried out last year by the Union, which affected over a million UK students, centred around universities’ contributions to staff salaries. 61 UK Universities were affected by two weeks of strike action, which saw disputes between university leadership and staff become increasingly fractious and significant disruption to teaching and learning. Last year’s strikes at University of Southampton included a student occupation of the Vice Chancellor’s office.