Staff at Lancaster University to walk out for five days in UK-wide pay and pension dispute

University and College Union members at Lancaster University today (Wednesday) begin five days of strike action in UK-wide university disputes over pension cuts and deteriorating pay and conditions.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 4:55 am

Staff will be at picket lines at the main university entrance on Wednesday March 23, Thursday March 24, Friday March 25, Monday March 28 and Tuesday March 29.

Across the UK, more than 50,000 staff at 67 universities are striking over the next two weeks. More than one million students will be impacted.

This is the third round of strike action of the academic year. Staff at Lancaster recently took 10 days of strike action over three weeks from Monday February 14 to Wednesday March 2, and previously went on strike for three days in December 2021.

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Lancaster University.

Industrial ballots also opened at 149 universities last week, including at Lancaster, and will run until Friday April 8. Successful ballots will pave the way for additional action to be called throughout the remainder of 2022.

Last month university employers forced through USS pension cuts, which will see 35 per cent slashed from a typical member's guaranteed retirement income. In the pension dispute, UCU is demanding that employers revoke their cuts and re-enter negotiations.

New retail price index inflation figures of 7.8 per cent mean UCU estimates staff pay is now down by 25.5 per cent in real terms since 2009. More than 70,000 academics are employed on insecure contracts. The gender pay gap in UK universities sits at 16 per cent, whilst the disability pay gap is nine per cent and the race pay gap is up to 17 per cent.

In the pay and working conditions dispute UCU is demanding an end to race, gender and disability pay injustice; a framework to eliminate zero hours and other insecure contracts; and meaningful action to tackle unmanageable workloads; as well as a £2,500 pay rise for all university employees.

The union said universities can more than afford to meet the demands of staff. University finance figures show total income across the sector is around £41.9bn with reserves of £46.8bn. Students have been supporting the striking staff and the National Union of Students joined the previous round of action with a student strike on Wednesday March 2.