Following a period of strong discontent among university staff concerning working conditions, pay and pensions, the University and College Union organised a strike, with staff from over 60 institutions being eligible to take part. A recent increase of 3,500 members means that even more people can now go on strike. UCU reported on a strong turnout, with many staff taking to the picket lines.
Among staff on the picket lines was Hugh Brady, vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol. As previously reported, Anthony Forster, vice-chancellor of the University of Essex, became the first university leader to break ranks and voice his own concerns about working conditions and the increase in staff pension contributions. With senior leader Hugh Brady also siding with staff, it appears a change in attitudes could become a trend.
As to be expected, the strikes have created issues with teaching provision at some of the universities, although measures have been put in place to try and minimise disruption to students. The UCU has stated that it wants to reach a negotiation quickly to end disruption, but also that more strikes are likely to take place if universities do not intend to make serious amendments. If further strikes take place, it is likely they will be scheduled in the new year.
Read our news article that provides further context to the strikes here.