Staff members at 140 universities across the United Kingdom have announced their intention to embark on a five-day strike later this month, marking a significant escalation in a protracted dispute concerning pay and working conditions. The University and College Union (UCU), representing academic and related staff, confirmed the strike action on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
The ongoing disagreement between university staff and their employers has revolved around several key issues, including salary levels, job security, and the treatment of staff members on precarious contracts. This strike, which follows a series of shorter walkouts and industrial actions over the past few years, represents a renewed effort by staff to press their demands for better working conditions and fair remuneration.
One notable development accompanying this announcement is the UCU’s decision to lift a marking and assessment boycott that had been in effect since April 20, 2023. This boycott had disrupted the grading of assignments and examinations at universities, impacting students and adding urgency to the negotiations.
The decision to strike for five consecutive days is expected to have a significant impact on universities across the UK, affecting not only teaching and research but also administrative and support services. While strikes are not uncommon in the UK higher education sector, the duration of this impending industrial action is notable, reflecting the intensity of the ongoing labor dispute.