University staff have joined thousands of other workers in their latest day of action over pay and conditions.
The University and College Union has branded the strike as ‘Four Fights One Voice’ calling for action on pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workloads and pay devaluation. .
It comes as part of strike action by 500,000 workers nationally – of which around 70,000 are university lecturers according to the UCU. Among strikers are also teachers, doctors, BBC employees, refuse collectors, transport workers and civil servants.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said in an open letter that she was “extremely disappointed” in the strike action of teachers and that “many young people will once again miss invaluable time learning with their teachers and friends, particularly after their education was significantly disrupted during the pandemic”.
The UCU says agreed pay rises of between 3-5% are not matching the current level of inflation which sits at 12%.
Speaking to Christie, a University of Sheffield English lecturer, who was at the strikes, commented that pay simply “doesn’t come close” to the level of inflation.
He was aware of all academic and professional services being on strike, including some support staff. This comes as the first day of an additional six-day walkout after the unprecedented January strikes.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “I’m pleased to say that whilst Acas talks take place on a confidential basis, we are making progress across a range of subjects and will bring you more information as those talks come to a natural conclusion.
“The employer chose to put out their pay offer and make it clear that it is final and that universities can implement the initial element of that pay offer. We need to be absolutely crystal clear; this is not a pay offer that has been agreed with us as a union, or any of the other unions involved in the negotiations.”
The government says it is unwilling to raise public sector salaries across the board.
The UCU has vowed to continue industrial action with strike days planned for tomorrow and Friday, plus Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
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