UCLan staff to strike for five days from Monday over pay and working conditions rows
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On Monday (February 21), staff at the University of Central Lancashire will begin five days of strikes in disputes over pay and working conditions.
This comes as staff at 44 other institutions began strikes last Monday over pension rows, including nearby Lancaster University.
Taking place next Monday and Tuesday (21-22), University College and Union (UCU) members at UCLan will be striking alongside 68 other institutions over pensions, pay and working conditions.
A further 63 of these institutions, including UCLan, will continue their walk outs on February 28, March 1 and March 2, purely over the latter issue.
Staff are also engaged in action short of a strike (ASOS) which involves working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, not rescheduling classes cancelled due to strike action, or undertaking any voluntary activities.
A spokesperson for UCLan said: “Following the national strike ballots in relation to pay and conditions, UCU has confirmed that strike action will take place at UCLan over five days. These are: 21, 22, 28 February followed by 1 and 2 March. This is due to a national dispute over pay and conditions across the Higher Education sector, including the 2021/2022 staff pay award.
“The decision to strike is very disappointing and first and foremost our concern is for our students. They have already been through a period of considerable uncertainty and disruption due to the pandemic so we will do everything we can to minimise the strike’s impact by putting contingency plans in place.”
The UCLan spokesperson added that the nationally negotiated 2021-22 pay award for all university staff provided above inflation base pay increases for all of between 1.5 and 3.6%, and over half of the employees covered by these negotiations were also eligible to receive progression pay increases averaging 3%.
However, UCU say the dispute is over 20% real terms pay cut over the past 12 years, unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and the use of exploitative and insecure contracts, which are "rife" across the sector.
In order to resolve the pay & working conditions dispute, UCU is demanding a £2.5k pay increase for all staff, as well as action to tackle unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and the use of insecure and exploitative contracts
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said that strikes over pay and working conditions are "down to vice chancellors who have failed staff and students" and who have "done nothing to address falling pay, pay inequality, the rampant use of insecure contracts and unmanageable workloads."
Jo added: "Throughout these disputes, our union has offered simple solutions that would avert industrial action and benefit the sector in the long-term, but time and again employers have chosen to continue pushing staff to breaking point, all whilst the sector continues to bring in tens of billions of pounds each year.
"Students are standing by our members because they know that staff working conditions are their learning conditions. And they know that this sector, which is awash with money, can afford to treat its staff with dignity."
The final day of strike action in week 3 has been called to coincide with the student strike on Wednesday 2 March, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), who are supporting UCU’s industrial action and demands.
Across the whole 3 weeks of walk outs, the 68 striking universities equate to 50,000 staff members and over a million impacted students.