I don’t understand why UCU is striking/taking industrial action - can you explain?

The University and College Union (UCU) is currently taking industrial action in relation to an ongoing pay dispute. Despite ACAS involvement, UCU and the University & Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA) have been unable to reach agreement on pay. UCEA has indicated that the offer made on 20 February, providing an uplift of between 5% and 8%, is their full and final offer for this year's pay round. UCU rejected this offer in April and escalated their action to include a marking and assessment boycott which ran from 20 April until 6 September 2023.

On 6 September 2023, the UCU announced that its members would take strike action from Monday 25 September until Friday 29 September 2023. Despite recent discussions between the University and representatives from the local branch of UCU, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to cancel this strike action.

Nationally, we have made good progress on negotiations around pensions. While we still await the full results of the March 2023 valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) it seems highly likely that this will be positive and enable benefits to be restored.

Locally, we have also made progress on the agreement we reached with UCU in June 2022 regarding pay equity, contracts for PGR students who teach, casualisation and workload.

Where we have been unable to move forward is around the issue of pay. This is a national dispute that we are unable to address in local negotiations; neither the employers nor the unions are arguing that the sector should abandon national pay bargaining for our sector. 

The University remains committed to working with UCU and to addressing the issues around workload, pay equality and casualisation for all colleagues.


Last reviewed: 21.09.2023