Staff at University of Bedfordshire to join strike action on February 1
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Staff at the University of Bedfordshire are set to join planned strike action on February 1 in a dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions.
The University and College Union (UCU) has announced more than 70,000 staff at 150 universities will walk out with a further 17 days of strike action due to take place over February and March.
University staff have already taken three days of strike action this academic year after management imposed a pay rise worth just 3% 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.
The action is being taken alongside other unions as part of TUC ‘protect the right to strike’ day.
The union said ‘the clock is ticking’ for university bosses to make staff a serious offer and avoid disruption.
Five unions, UCU, NEU, ASLEF, PCS and RMT have already confirmed they will join the day of action against government plans to introduce strict anti-strike measures through parliament.
In a meeting on Monday, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) refused to move from an updated 4-5% offer made last week with UCU saying the offer was 'not enough'.
In the pension dispute, UCU is demanding employers revoke the cuts and restore benefits. The package of cuts made last year will see the average member lose 35% from their guaranteed future retirement income. For those at the beginning of their careers the losses are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: ‘While 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.”