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BREAKING: Strike Action to come to UoA

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

UCU Members to strike 24th, 25th, and 30th November over pension and pay disputes

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

photo courtesy of UCU

The powerful Universities and Colleges Union, which represents tens of thousands of staff at higher education institutions across the UK, has announced plans to engage in strike action at the end of November.

In an announcement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, UCU President Jo Grady said, 'We have served notice on the employers for national strike action. Every university in the UK. UCU members will strike on Thursday the 24th November, Friday the 25th November, and Wednesday the 30th November.'

The strike will take place at 150 different universities across the UK, including UoA, with over 70,000 members expected to join the picket lines.

In a press release, UCU cautioned that further inaction from employers would lead to increased strike and industrial action in the new year.

UCU said, 'Disruption can be avoided if employers act fast and make improved offers. If they don't, strike action will escalate in the New Year alongside a marking and assessment boycott.'

'Staff will also begin industrial action short of strike action from Wednesday 23 November, which includes working to rule, refusing to make up work lost as a result of strike action and refusing to cover for absent colleagues.'

UCU wants a 'meaningful pay rise' to combat rising cost of living as well as an end to widespread temporary contracts. Their demands also include a reversal of previous pension cuts and a restoration of benefits for members. According to the press release, cuts made earlier in 2022 will lead members to lose 35% of their guaranteed retirement income.

The National Union of Students (NUS), of which AUSA is a member, expressed their support for the strikes, with NUS vice president higher education Chloe Field saying, 'Students stand in solidarity with the 70,000 university staff across the UK who will strike later this month. Staff teaching conditions are students' learning conditions, and we must fight together for a fairer, healthier education system for everyone who works and studies.'

AUSA has not returned The Gaudie's request to comment on their support for the strikes.

When contacted by The Gaudie about the potentiality of strike action, a University spokesperson simply replied, 'The University will make every effort to minimise the impact of any industrial action on students who will be given advice and kept updated.'

Specific actions to be taken by Aberdeen UCU have yet to be announced, although picket lines and other protests are likely to occur.

During the last period of strike action in early 2020, University VP for Education Ruth Taylor told students, ' Some staff may choose to take strike action which may lead to some classes being cancelled. Where possible, Schools will inform you by email in advance of any such cancellation. If you have not been informed of any cancellations, you should assume that your classes will go ahead as planned, although you should be aware that some classes may need to be cancelled at very short notice.'

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.


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