New Round of Strikes Ahead at Roehampton University

Staff vote for five day industrial action over pay and working conditions

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


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September 8, 2023

Members of staff at the University of Roehampton who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) have voted for renewed strike action later this month.

They will be joining employees at 140 institutions across the country in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The strike will be held on five consecutive days from Monday 25 to Friday 29 September.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has made a pay award for the current year which the union says is worth just 5% for most of its members. The union is also demanding action on what it describes as gig-economy employment practices and high workloads.

The union has withdrawn its marking and assessment boycott which was ongoing since Thursday 20 April. It will begin reballoting members shortly to allow it to escalate the dispute by taking further action this year and into 2024. Staff are continuing other forms of industrial action, including working to rule, not undertaking any voluntary activities, and not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said, ‘We are left with no option but to strike during the start of term because our members refuse to stand by while pay is eroded and staff are shunted onto gig-economy contracts.

‘It is shameful that vice-chancellors still refuse to settle the dispute despite a year of unprecedented disruption, and have instead imposed a pay award that staff overwhelmingly rejected. Universities are richer than ever, generating tens of billions of pounds in income and hoarding billions more in cash deposits. But they won’t give staff their fair share, a pay award of 5% is a huge real-terms pay cut and is substantially lower than school teachers received.

‘We have sought to settle this dispute at every opportunity, including agreeing to a joint review of sector finances, but we are faced with employers that want to see staff and students suffer. We desperately hope vice-chancellors realise we are going nowhere without a fair settlement and make us a realistic offer. If they do not, campuses will be marred by picket lines during fresher’s week, and we will launch a new strike ballot allowing us to take action well into 2024.’

We have asked the University of Roehampton for comment.

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