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For latest news and guidance about current industrial action, including the Marking & Assessment Boycott see our Sussex Strike Linktree

National Disputes and Industrial Action

06/07/2022 - UCU confirms strike ballot to kick-start unprecedented strike action


There is a mass union movement taking hold in the UK with workers from countless industries declaring strike action. UCU have recently confirmed we will move ahead with plans to ballot staff in our pensions and pay and conditions disputes.


The union's higher education committee (HEC) met last week and agreed on a ballot of all higher education members at the end of summer with strikes to follow in November, along with further ballots for industrial action in spring 2023.  


It’s been decided for the first time that this ballot will be aggregated meaning if UCU reaches a 50% turnout or above and a majority YES vote, all universities across the UK will be able to join in strike action. 


We have already participated in 15 days of strike action this year and nearly 40 branches are currently taking part in a marking boycott, with staff not marking and performing assessment duties. 


If employers refuse to reverse their brutal cuts to pensions and make tangible improvements to pay and working conditions then strike action will again be on the table. 


149 universities will ballot their 80,000 strong members for action over falling pay, unmanageable workloads, the opportunistic use of casual contracts, unacceptable pay inequalities, and cuts to pensions. 


UCU is calling for the immediate reversing of cuts to the USS pensions and for USS to conduct a new evidence-based valuation. The union is also calling for a reversal of pay cuts for all staff by demanding a minimum of £2,500 and also genuine action to address racist and misogynistic pay gaps, eradicate casualisation and insecure work and to tackle unfair workloads that disproportionately distributes labor to women, Black, Queer and low grade staff. 


UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'By attacking pensions, cutting pay and continually refusing to negotiate in good faith, vice chancellors have pushed staff towards taking more strike action, and now university staff are set to join the wave of industrial action sweeping the UK. 


'We do not take such action lightly, but university staff are beyond sick of falling pay, cuts to pensions, unsafe workloads and the rampant use of insecure contracts. The university sector is worth tens of billions of pounds and is predicted to generate record levels of income. It can more than afford to meet the demands of staff who are struggling in the midst of a devastating cost of living crisis. 


'Time is running out and we hope vice chancellors finally see sense and address the long-standing concerns of staff. If they don't, mass disruption will be entirely their fault.'


The University of Sussex Student Union has supported the action:


“Staff working conditions are also our learning conditions, and we all stand to gain from improvements to staff workloads, pay, job security, and equal pay. Supporting UCU may improve things at Sussex for all of us, as successful collective action can win better working conditions for staff, and therefore better learning conditions for students at Sussex.”


For more information and to get involved, follow our LinkTree here

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