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This briefing paper has now been superseded, please see University Strikes FAQs

Since November 2019 the University and Colleges Union (UCU) have been conducting negotiations with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) over concerns about: excessive workloads, pay, a 15% gender pay gap, increased casualisation of the workforce and changes to pensions for staff in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). The issue with pensions is that UCU members are being asked to pay 9.6% in pension contributions, up from 8%, and the UCU wants universities to pay the full increase.

The UCEA have said that the demand for a pay rise of more than 5% is unaffordable when several universities are reporting deficits in their latest accounts.

Strike action is planned for 14 days over a four week period in February and March 2020. The National Union of Students is backing the strikes.

The strike in February 2020 involved staff at 74 universities – 5% of all university staff.

Universities have said that they will take action to mitigate disruption to students. Students who are disatisfied with provisions put in place may be able to make a complaint through their institutions complaints process.

Documents to download

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