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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 February 2020

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

Leicester, UCU strike 25.11.19, photo Tessa Warrington

Leicester, UCU strike 25.11.19, photo Tessa Warrington   (Click to enlarge)

Bea Gardner, UCU Southampton branch executive (personal capacity)

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced 14 days of further strike action for universities currently in dispute over pensions, pay and conditions.

The action will start on Thursday 20 February and escalate each week, finishing with a week-long walkout from Monday 9 to Friday 13 March. In total, 74 universities will be taking part, 14 more than in the eight days of action before Christmas.

As a result, over 1.2 million students will be affected. UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, has warned that the union is prepared to re-ballot members over Easter to keep the mandate for industrial action live when students sit their exams later in the summer.

While the UCU higher education committee was expected to announce the dates for the USS pensions dispute, as we reported in the Socialist previously, in the 'four fights' dispute the situation was less clear.

It was thrown into even more uncertainty when, just two days before the higher education committee met, employer representatives, UCEA, tabled and published an offer in the dispute over pay, workload, unequal pay gaps and casualisation.

However, the higher education committee voted to reject the offer which did not include any increase in pay from their current offer of 1.8%, or anything beyond loose commitments on the other aspects of the dispute.

This decision to reject the offer and sustain the combined action is a positive step forward for the union and reflects a determination amongst members to rewind years of marketisation in higher education.

However, rank and file members on the ground must be prepared to respond to further attempts to undermine or derail the action in the build-up to the strikes. This must include being prepared to reject any offers which do not deliver on all areas of the two disputes.

This will be best achieved by electing strong local strike committees to democratically organise and lead the action, including linking up with student unions and student groups on campus.

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In The Socialist 4 February 2020:


News

6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

Labour leadership contest and public ownership

Coronavirus exposes capitalism's weaknesses in healthcare and economy

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Refuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Them & Us


Rail

Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?


What we think

'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead


Workplace news

Huge victory for Bromley library workers after 241 days on indefinite strike!

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

Newham council tax workers' pay victory

No to academisation of east London schools!

Ealing tax office workers strike against closure


NHS

Outrageous waiting times will put lives at risk

NHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire


International

Syria: Assad regime consolidates power after brutal counterrevolution

Israel/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict


Campaigns

Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Sadiq Khan "out-Tories" himself to defend tech firms' tax bonanza

Socialist Sellers

Reading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

The rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

Support the working-class press in 2020

Defend and fight for warm, safe housing for Samira and everyone

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Readers' opinion

Liverpool council: "No more cuts" - Is Joe Anderson serious?

Socialist Inbox


 

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