On 8 November, The University and College Union (UCU) announced that three nationwide strikes will take place this very month on 24, 25 and 30 November.
Newcastle University and its staff are included in the 150 UK institutions and 70,000 UCU members that will partake in these sweeping strikes.
The news comes just over two weeks after the 24 October announcement that the UCU's national ballot to strike had passed with flying colours — achieving an 81.8% and 84.9% win in the ballots concerned with pay and working conditions and USS pension schemes respectively.
The historic ballot refuses to lose its landmark stride, with November strikes being just the first step in the UCU's plans for strike action this year.
Alongside strike action, the UCU plans to “deliver the biggest picket lines in UCU history” according to its General Secretary Jo Grady.
Immediately after winning the ballot, the Union stressed how strike action will continue at institutions like Newcastle University and aim to intensify in the second semester.
Additionally, the possibility for a marking boycott (similar to that which occurred at Newcastle last year), has been revisited. This leaves the threat of unsuccessful graduations, due to an incapacity to mark final exams and dissertations, looming over students yet again.
Newcastle students have repeatedly voiced their concern over strikes. With 82% of students stating they were worried over the impact that strike action could have on their studies in a 21 October poll conducted by The Courier, while other students anonymously claimed that "the University should do far more to mitigate the impact of strikes."
This concern has been met with a view of student-to-staff, and student-to-university collaboration and communication.
As is clear in Sabbatical Officer Mackenzie Marshall's mandated poll to collate student voice and gage opinion on strikes, and through the University's committal to "work[ing] with NUSU and our colleagues to ensure that any impact on our students is kept to a minimum" according to a Newcastle University spokesperson.
Ultimately, “it has to be about communicating with students. Talking to them, understanding what they need, and trying to mitigate the worst of [the strikes] for them,” Head of School of History, Classics and Archaeology Annie Tindley said.