Eight days of strikes at University of Manchester ON from Monday

  • 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
  • Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner to speak at Manchester rally on Monday

The University of Manchester 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 at all entrances to the university from 8am, including:

The Archway to the Old Quadrangle and University Place on Oxford Road, the Samuel Alexander Building and the Arthur Lewis Building.

On Monday (25 November) there will be a rally in the students’ union building on Oxford Road at 12pm where speakers will include shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, UCU NEC member and Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Bury South Lucy Burke, UCU Vice-President Vicky Blake UCU regional official Martyn Moss, striking staff and students. On the other strike days there will be teach-ins and other activities from 12pm in the students’ union.

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.

At the University of Manchester, 83% of UCU members polled voted for strikes over changes to USS pensions and 79% backed strikes over pay and conditions. The disputes centre on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and universities’ failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

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 University of Manchester president David Swanson 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 previously 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.

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