Following significant progress in negotiations with university employers on pay, working conditions and pensions, the university staff’s union, the UCU, is suspending for two weeks the remaining seven days of its planned 18 days of strike action.
This is to create a “constructive environment...(and) a period of calm”. In case the employers are under any illusion, action scheduled after these dates remains in place and a ballot is under way for a mandate to continue action for a further six months.
The development shows the power of a united workforce. UCU general secretary Jo Grady told the union’s 70,000 members: “Let us be crystal clear – you have delivered this”. Many wonder whether the employers can be trusted not to take advantage of the suspension of action. To that she said: “they will fear us extending our mandate by another six months far more than they will the next two weeks of strike action.”
As well as a pay rise to reflect inflation, UCU demands include restoring University Superannuation Scheme pensions, and ending casualisation and the use of involuntary zero hour contracts.
• A longer version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk.