From Monday 25th to Tuesday 4th December, staff members at 60 universities including Oxford will strike over pay and working conditions.
The move comes as attempts to broach an agreement between the Universities and College Union and staff failed.
Whereas 43 different universities are striking over pensions and pay/working conditions, academics in Oxford are striking over the pay and working conditions only.
UCU Oxford Co-President Aris Katzourakis said, “Strike action is a last resort, but universities’ refusal to deal with absolutely key issues have left us with no alternative.
“It is staggering and insulting that universities have not done more to work with us to try to find a way to resolve this dispute.
“We are heartened by the support and solidarity of the official student union of the University of Oxford and we hope students will continue to put pressure on university vice-chancellors to get their representatives back round the negotiating table for serious talks with the union.”
As well as an eight strike days, union members will begin “action short of a strike” from Monday – this includes measures like working strictly to contract, refusing to cover for colleagues and refusing to rearrange lectures missed due to strike action.
Staff will be on picket lines from 8.30am at several sites across Oxford – including the Clarendon Building, the Radcliffe Observatory and the Said Business School.
A rally held outside the Clarendon Building on Monday will have speakers including, “Oxford East Anneliese Dodds, Oxford UCU co-president Aris Katzourakis, Oxford Student Union president Anisha Faruk and Chair of Oxford and District Labour Party, Rabyah Khan.”
74% of UCU members polled in Oxford voted in favour of strike action. Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has said she ‘fully supports’ the UCU members, and called for urgent talks to resolve the dispute.
She said: “I am deeply concerned that a combination of falling pay, rising workloads and increasingly insecure employment is making a career in higher education less suitable.”
Earlier this week, the UCU laid the blame for the strikes firmly with the universities, who they said had refused to even discuss changes to pay. This will be the second year in a row where Oxford academics strike over remuneration. Strikes were held in early 2018.
A spokesperson for Oxford University said: “The University is disappointed with the outcome of the Oxford UCU ballot in favour of industrial action over the national pay settlement.
“We understand the concerns many staff have on pay, as well as on pensions. We also have a duty to ensure our education and research activities continue as far as possible and will therefore have contingency plans in place to minimise the impact of any industrial action on staff, students and visitors.”