Higher education workers prepare to strike

Education workers at universities in the UK are preparing to fight over pay, pensions, casualisation and discrimination.

Fifty two universities will strike for three days from December 1st to December 3rd. Staff at six other universities voted to take action short of strike action. Staff at all 58 universities will take action short of a strike up to May 2022. In addition, 42 other universities are now balloting for strike action.

Workers in the University and College Union (UCU) are opposing a cut of over 35% in pensions and are demanding an increase of £2,500 a year for lecturers. They are also opposed to unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and insecure contracts. One in three workers are on insecure contracts. There is a gender pay gap of 15% and a huge underrepresentation of women and black staff. The massive workloads many education workers are experiencing are inducing a high level of stress and mental health problems.

Whilst education workers are being treated with contempt by management, vice chancellors are rewarding themselves with average salaries of £269,000 a year. Meanwhile students are suffering too, with contact hours with staff being cut drastically. University managements shed crocodile tears over the welfare of students because of the nasty striking workers. A big laugh this, as it was the same managements who forced students into cramped accommodation during the height of the pandemic, continues to cover up over sexual violence on campuses, and imposes heavy handed security staffing.