Academics to strike again

University staff at Oxford and across the country will conduct another day of industrial action on 3 December in response to an ongoing argument over pay.

It has been confirmed that members of UNISON, Unite and the University and College Union (UCU), will walk out again unless the pay dispute is resolved.

Union members are discontented with a 1% pay offer, which the UCU claims has resulted in a real-terms fall of pay by 13%.

However, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) argues that pay awards in the higher education sector have been in line with the major public sector bargaining groups over the period 2008/09 to 2013/14.

UCU head of higher education, Michael MacNeil, commented, “Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay and have made it clear that enough is enough. We remain committed to trying to resolve this dispute and the employers now have until 3 December to sit down and positively engage with the unions. If they don’t, then our members and those from our sister unions will be out on strike again, as well as continuing to work to contract.”

A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said, “The University respects the right of individuals to take part in lawful industrial action. Contingency plans are in place aimed at minimising any disruption or inconvenience such action may cause to students, staff, and visitors to the University.”

Nathan Akehurst, a prominent member of the student movement ‘Support Our Staff’, told Cherwell, “Academics will be striking again because employers have failed to negotiate in good faith. Little, if anything has changed since last time. It is important that students continue to show their support and given the enthusiasm of people last time I believe support could be expanded for the second strike.”

Xavier Cohen, another student who has been involved in ‘Support Our Staff’, said, “I fully support academic and non-academic workers from UCU, Unite and Unison who are taking further strike action. Myself and many other students care greatly about workers’ pay, workers’ conditions, the gender-pay gap and the path of marketisation that higher education continues to be dragged down. “

He added, “Although limited strike action may not be enough to make the government comply with workers’ demands, I am sure students will be out again en masse to support their staff.”

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