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24th February 2023

“This is a matter of priority”: A rundown of this week’s UCU strikes

On February 14th UCU strikes continued for the third week in a row. Here’s a rundown of everything that happened this week
“This is a matter of priority”: A rundown of this week’s UCU strikes
UCU picket line. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

UCU strikes continued February 14, with pickets outside Whitworth Hall and University Place.

A senior lecturer told The Mancunion that the strikers were calling for an “end to casualisation and tiny fractional contracts” which leave many less senior educators “unable to plan a future”.

Adding, “the University say they can’t wave a magic wand to fix it, which is true, but they can put in the groundwork. Pressure needs to be applied on the government” – the UCU members are unable to do this themselves.

In Club Academy, a group of lecturers demanded a “real time pay increase” which they haven’t received since 2009, despite the unprecedented cost of living crisis.

Lecturers also wish to receive pension benefits – which have reduced by a quarter since 2009 – and an acknowledgement of the hours they work.

The strikes focused on an environmental agenda this week, with talks on the Climate Network, the University’s involvement in oil, and an Environmental Action meet-up.

At the University of Manchester (UoM), specifically with the on-going rent strikes as well as the UCU walk-out, there has been a noticeable sense of togetherness between staff and students. UoM Rent Strike have been vocal supporters of the UCU strikes.

When contacted, a University spokesperson said:

“We understand how important pay, employment conditions, and pensions are to colleagues – we take their views and concerns very seriously. Pay and the USS pension agreements are negotiated nationally, by UCEA and UUK respectively. As with all Higher Education Institutions, we input into these discussions and decisions.

“We also appreciate the difficult and challenging times in which we are living and are taking active steps to support our staff and students.”

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