- Staff at 74 universities will walk out for 14 days in UK’s biggest ever higher education strikes
- Disputes are over pay and working conditions, and rising pension costs
- Guardian newspaper forced to move Labour Leadership event from behind picket lines
The University of Manchester will be hit with 14 days of strike action between Thursday (20 February) and Friday 13 March.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are walking out in two disputes – one over pensions, and another over pay and working conditions – in the largest wave of strikes ever seen on UK campuses.
UCU members will be taking action on:
Week one – Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February
Week two – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February
Week three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March
Week four – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March
Striking staff will be on picket lines at all entrances to the university from 8:30am, including:
The Archway to the Old Quadrangle and University Place on Oxford Road, the Samuel Alexander Building and the Arthur Lewis Building.
The disputes centre on changes to USS pensions and universities’ failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. Earlier this week, the Guardian had to move a Labour leadership hustings event from University Place to Manchester Central because of the action by UCU members.
UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: ‘It is incredibly frustrating that UCU members are being forced to walk out again to secure fair pay, conditions and pensions. This unprecedented level of action shows just how angry staff are at their universities’ refusal to negotiate properly with us.
‘If universities want to avoid continued disruption then they need to get their representatives back to the negotiating table with serious options to resolve these disputes.’
UCU members at the University of Manchester were among staff at 60 universities who walked out for eight days of strikes before Christmas. They will be joined this week by staff at another 14 institutions, as more UCU branches crossed a 50% ballot turnout threshold required by law for industrial action.
The number of universities being hit by the action is the largest since a nationwide two-day strike in 2016, while the number of strike days is unprecedented. Following the eight-day walkout before Christmas, this latest round of 14 strike days means the total number of walkouts will be 22 by March; higher than the previous record of 14 days in 2018.