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25th September 2023

UCU Strikes paused after narrow vote

The strikes have today been called off after an emergency meeting at 11am today. Find out more as we know it
UCU Strikes paused after narrow vote
The University of Manchester’s branch of the University and Colleges Union (UMUCU) has called off its strikes.
Following an emergency meeting of the branch at 11am today, strikes have been suspended and most teaching will resume from tomorrow.
The strikes were over the deductions of pay from members who participated in the Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB). The Mancunion understands that the vote to end the action was passed only very narrowly.
The University of Manchester had deducted 50% of participant members pay, which had received criticism from supporters of the Union. The UCU estimates that members have lost around 20% of this year’s salary.
For members earning c. £36,000, the UCU estimate that they have lost nearly £7000. However, for Professors, it could be more than £17,000.
Half of the 50% deducted pay will be returned to staff. Union sources have not ruled out further legal action to reclaim the full amount of their pay.
This appears to be quite a sudden change. Only this morning, the UMUCU posted a photo highlighting the size of their picket lines.

Some members have been unhappy about the handling of the situation. Professor Rob Ford tweeted: “Why have the results of this vote not been announced?’, describing members as ‘in limbo […] hours after the meeting ended. He continued to describe it as “[r]eally not acceptable”.

Simeon Gill, chair of the Manchester UCU, commented: “we welcome the withdrawal of half the punitive deductions to our members. We would hope the institution recognizes the need to pay staff for work done and that on completion of any outstanding works, the employer returns all deductions. Our members cannot work without pay and no employer can consider itself responsible if it removes pay when work is done”.

A spokesperson from the University of Manchester said:

“In continuing to work with representatives from our local branch of the University and College Union (UMUCU), we are very pleased to report that this afternoon (Monday, 25 September) it was agreed that strike action will be called off with immediate effect.  

This follows our latest offer to only withhold only 25% of pay for those staff who participated in the marking and assessment boycott (MAB). We will make appropriate adjustments to colleagues’ pay in their October salary instalment. 

We have also agreed that colleagues who participated in MAB should complete outstanding marking and assessment as soon as practical, and where reasonably possible by Friday 13 October 2023. 

We believe this outcome is in the best interests of our students and staff. Once again, we wish to thank all colleagues who worked so hard to help us mitigate the impact of the boycott on our students and wider community.”

Jacob Hartley

Jacob Hartley

co-Managing Editor (News and Current Affairs)

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