- Members of the University and College Union at 60 UK universities will walk out from Monday (25 November) to Wednesday 4 December
- Disputes are over pay and working conditions, and rising pension costs
The University of Liverpool, Edge Hill University, Liverpool Hope University and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts will be hit with eight days of strike action from Monday (25 November) after no agreement could be reached between university representatives and the University and College Union (UCU) over pensions, pay and working conditions.
Striking staff will be on picket lines from 8am at:
On Tuesday 26 November protesters will assemble from 12pm at University Square on the corner of Brownlow Hill and Mount Pleasant, before marching through the city centre to the USS headquarters at the Liver Building on Pier Head.
The march will be followed by a rally at the Liver Building from 12.30pm that will hear from UCU general secretary Jo Grady; Labour candidate for Liverpool Walton Dan Carden, Labour candidate for Liverpool Wavertree Paula Baker and Ian Byrne, Labour candidate for Liverpool West Derby.
Earlier this week, UCU accused universities of playing games after their representatives refused to even discuss pay. The union said things were no better at talks yesterday (Wednesday) over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), where their representatives failed to make a serious offer.
UCU said it feared that universities had learnt nothing from last year’s dispute, when university campuses were brought to a standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action.
Last month, UCU members backed strike action in ballots over both pensions, and pay and working conditions. The results mean that UCU members at 60 UK universities* are walking out on Monday.
The disputes centre on changes to USS pensions and universities’ failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. At the University of Liverpool, members were polled over striking in defence of USS pensions and in the dispute about pay and conditions. Three-quarters of members (74%) polled backed strikes over pay and conditions and 82% backed strikes over pensions.
UCU members at the other three institutions are in a different pension scheme and were only balloted for strikes over pay and conditions. At Liverpool Hope University, 91% of members polled backed strikes over pay and conditions.
At Edge Hill University 75% of members polled backed strikes and at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, 71% of those who voted, voted for strikes.
As well as eight strike days, union members will begin “action short of a strike” from Monday. This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.
UCU North West regional official Martyn Moss said: ‘Strike action is a last resort, but universities’ refusal to deal with these key issues have left us with no alternative. It is staggering and insulting that universities have not done more to work with us to try and find a way to resolve these disputes.
‘We hope students will continue to put pressure on university vice-chancellors to get their representatives back round the negotiating table for serious talks with the union.’
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has called on both sides to get round the table for talks and the National Union of Students says students stand shoulder to shoulder with staff in the disputes.