Universities across the UK are to be hit with 18 days of strike action between February and March in a row over pay, conditions and pensions.
The University and College Union (UCU) who represents academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers & academic-related staff in further and higher education, confirmed the news on Thursday evening.
It follows, a decision by the union’s higher education committee which met earlier today.
The committee also agreed to re-ballot staff at all 150 universities to renew UCU's mandate and allow the union to call action well into 2023, including a marking and assessment boycott from April, unless the disputes are settled.
UCU says 'the clock is ticking' for university bosses to avoid widespread disruption this year.
The union is demanding a meaningful pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis as well as action to end the use of insecure contracts. Employers imposed a pay rise worth just 3% this year following over a decade of below-inflation pay awards.
The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which represents university employers, made the UCU a pay offer worth between 4% and 5% yesterday (Wednesday). UCU said the offer was 'not enough'.
In the pension dispute, UCU is demanding employers revoke the cuts and restore benefits. The package of cuts made last year will see the average member lose 35% from their guaranteed future retirement income. For those at the beginning of their careers the losses are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Today our union came together to back an unprecedented programme of escalating strike action. The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption throughout spring.
“University staff dedicate their lives to education and they want to get back to work, but that will only happen if university vice-chancellors use the vast wealth of the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant insecure employment practices and devastating pension cuts. The choice is theirs”
The exact strike dates will be confirmed next week.
Shock Radio has contacted the UCEA for comment.