14 days of strike action announced by UCU

14 days of strikes will hit Newcastle this spring

Emma McLaren
3rd February 2020
Image: Miles Ogden
UCU has announced today that there will be a further 14 days of strikes across February and March, taking place across 74 universities, including Newcastle.

The strike action will take place over four weeks, commencing on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February and building up in length each week to end in a week-long walk-out from Monday 9 to Friday 13 March. Further industrial action has been threatened at the end of the academic year if issues are not remedied.

Disputes continue over pensions, equality, casualisation and workloads, as well as universities’ failure to make improvements on pay.

A rally during the autumn 2019 UCU strikes.
Image: Carl Smith Valdez

This announcement follows eight days of strikes in November and December last year, action that reportedly affected around one million students at 60 universities across the UK.

This impending strike action will affect another 200,000 students. A further 14 universities will participate in the strikes, after more UCU branches crossed the 50% turnout threshold necessary to allow industrial action.

Union members have also pledged to undertake “action short of a strike”, which includes working strictly to contract, refusing to reschedule lectures missed due to strike action, and not covering for absent members of staff.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady commented:

"We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

"We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved."

The strike action dates are as follows:

Week one - Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February

Week two - Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February

Week three - Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March

Week four - Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

Cover image: students supporting striking staff members by Newcastle University Labour Society

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