The University and College Union (UCU) Monday announced that UCU members voted “overwhelmingly in favor” of a strike. The vote was sparked by pay disputes and pension cuts for British university staff.The UCU held the vote on October 21. Over 70,000 staff from 150 universities participated in the vote. The results showed 81.1% of voters were in favor of taking action over pay and working conditions, while 84.9% were in favor of taking action over pensions cuts.The vote is the first instance since the introduction of the Trade Union Act 2016 in which voting figures of an education union have surpassed the legal threshold of 50%. With 57.7% of those entitled to vote partaking in the ballot over pay, and 60.2% voting in the ballot regarding pensions, this allows the UCU to call the upcoming industrial action a “national strike.”In response to the ballot results, UCU General Secretary Jo Grady commented, “[University staff] are sending a clear message that they will not accept falling pay, insecure employment and attacks on pensions”. The UCU’s pay and conditions ballot demands a pay rise in order to combat the current cost of living crisis across the UK. In regards to pensions, the UCU wants a reversal of the 35% pension cut made earlier this year. The UCU said their higher education committee will meet on November 3 to discuss the UCU’s plans to “pressure employers to begin meaningful negotiations.” No specific dates of the strike have been released as of the time of this report.
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