UCU plans further strike

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that it intends to proceed with a further period of strike action related to ongoing disputes about pay and pensions.

The announcement of the planned strike has come despite the following significant progress in recent weeks on both these issues:

  • Pensions: Following the publication of the second report by the Joint Expert Panel (made up equally of employers’ and scheme members’ representatives), talks have been ongoing between UCU, Universities UK and USS to address  some of the longer term issues associated with the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). A series of statements have been issued following these meetings, highlighting the positive progress made to date.

  • Pay: The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has presented a range of proposals to address some of the issues at the centre of the ongoing dispute, focusing on casual employment, workload/mental health and gender pay gaps/ethnicity pay. This follows two months of constructive dialogue with University and College Union (UCU). 
The UCU has a mandate to carry out the further strike action in relation to one or both of these issues at 74 institutions, including Leeds.

The strikes are planned for 14 days, spread over four weeks as follows:

  • Week 1: Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
  • Week 2: Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
  • Week 3: Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
  • Week 4: Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March

The planned strike action will take place alongside ongoing action short of a strike (ASOS).

As with the previous period of strike action in November and December 2019, our priority is to minimise any disruption to students and to ensure we continue to communicate with staff about the issues at the heart of the action.

The proposed strike action relates to ongoing disputes about the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and the national pay award for 2019/20, alongside other related issues. These are essentially national disputes which affect many other universities.

In relation to USS, the University supports the arrangements introduced from October 2019 that protect current pension benefits and place a cap on member and employer contributions until the end of September 2021. Crucially, this will allow time for all parties to work together to achieve a long term solution to the pension deficit and to restore trust and stability for members of the scheme.

As with USS, pay arrangements are negotiated at a national level. This year all staff have received an increase of at least 1.8%, with many receiving increases of 4.8% or even higher when annual increments and other payments are taken into account; and those on the lowest salaries have received an increase of at least 3.65%.

Read further details about this year’s pay award, which are now implemented.

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