It has been announced that the University College Union (UCU) will open a ballot for its members to vote on further strike action, which will take place in the forthcoming university year.
The ballot will be open just under three weeks (30th August – 19th October) and members have been urged to vote in favour of strike action in the wake of unsatisfactory negotiations that took place after the strikes of March and April.
The universities that would be affected by a further strike remain undecided at present, as are details of the duration of a potential strike, and when this might happen in the term.
Dan Ashley, a spokesperson for the UCU, stated ‘Any industrial action is of course a last resort and we will be doing all we can to resolve the dispute without the need for any action.’
The offer by the University and College Employers Association (UCEA) following the strikes was for a 2 % raise in wages, this was rejected as members felt employers were not addressing the continuing casualisation of staff contracts and the gender pay gap in academia.
The wages of university staff have not increased in line with current rates inflation, which is estimated at 3.4%, and the UCU believe their real- terms pay has been devalued by 21% since 2010.
The future is uncertain for academic staff and students alike in the upcoming semester. The prolonged period of industrial action in the last academic year affected student and staff bodies nationwide, more strike action in the upcoming year could pose similarly detrimental effects to these groups.