Strike Action Continues at University of Roehampton

Principal reason for industrial action is the issue of workload

A picket at the university during previous strike action. Picture: Roehampton UCU


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January 18, 2023

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Roehampton are taking strike action this Wednesday and Thursday (18 and 19 January) with more industrial action planned in February.

According to the UCU, 87% of Roehampton’s academic staff reported feeling frequently overwhelmed and 37% reported severe symptoms of stress (compared to a national average of 7%).

The union says that due to a reduction in staff numbers and a new way of allocating work, there has been a 20-40% increase in workloads.

In addition, academics are being asked to teach outside their area of expertise depriving students of specialist education and there has been an increased use of staff on casual contracts including zero-hour contracts which has resulted in an overall decline in the standard of provision.

UCU claims that, despite management’s declaration that it is reviewing workloads, nothing concrete has been done to address the issue and there has been no meeting with the union since September.

Further, strikes are planned next month including on 1 February as part of the TUC’s national day of action to ‘protect the right to strike’.

Roehampton staff will be among 70,000 university workers across the country taking action over pay and working conditions.

A further 17 days of strike action is due to take place over February and March. The precise dates are to be announced by the union next week.

University staff have already taken three days of strike action this academic year after receiving a pay rise worth just 3% this year following over a decade of below-inflation pay awards.

UCU is demanding a meaningful pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis as well as action to end the use of insecure contracts.

In a meeting between employers and trade union on Monday 16 January, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) refused to move from an updated 4-5% offer made last week. UCU said the offer is 'not enough'.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said, “Whilst the cost-of-living crisis rages, university vice-chancellors are dragging their feet and refusing to use the vast wealth in the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant casualisation and massive pension cuts.

“On 1 February, 70,000 university staff will walk out alongside fellow trade unions and hundreds of thousands of other workers to demand their fair share.

“UCU remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, but if university employers don’t get serious and fast, more strike action fill follow in February and March.”

The University of Roehampton has been approached for comment.

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