University strike in Glasgow: What universities are affected and when are the strikes?

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Staff at a Glasgow university have walked out in a dispute over pensions, with more strikes planned in the next few weeks.

They are among workers at 44 universities, including eight in Scotland, who walked out on Monday as part of a protests taking place across the UK.

A rally was held on the Buchanan Street steps, with hundreds of supporters taking part.

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What is the dispute about?

The University and College Union (UCU) argues that university leaders have failed staff and students.

Staff from the University of Glasgow are taking part.Staff from the University of Glasgow are taking part.
Staff from the University of Glasgow are taking part. | Leonid Andronov - stock.adobe.co

The union says it is looking to force the hand of university employers in an attempt to improve working conditions, workplace equality, falling pay and claims of a decade of cuts to staff pensions.

These strikes have been organised as a response to two ongoing disputes between the UCU and its employer counterpart, Universities UK: one over pension cuts, the other over pay and working conditions.

The UCU says that university staff have had their pension fund massively and falsely devalued, and that new members of the scheme will receive half of what was previously offered.

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The UCU said: “To resolve the pension dispute UCU is demanding employers revoke the cuts to staff pensions and formally accept the union’s compromise proposals. To resolve the pay & working conditions dispute UCU is demanding a £2.5k pay increase for all staff, as well as action to tackle unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and the use of insecure and exploitative contracts.”

How long will it last?

Ten days of strikes are planned over the coming weeks.

The first week of striking relates to the pension dispute only. Week two will have strikes relating to both the pension and the pay and working conditions dispute. Week three will just be about pay and working conditions.

What Glasgow universities are affected?

After balloting, the UCU gained a majority mandate for strike action and what it calls ‘action short of strike’, or ASOS.

It was then up to separate ballots held internally by branches in universities across the country to determine the industrial action they would take, on both the four fights and the pension disputes.

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University of Glasgow staff took part in the strike on Monday, and are due to be off all week. There will also be strikes on Monday and Tuesday next week, as well as February 28-March 2.

Glasgow School of Art staff are not due to take part this week, but voted to take part in the ‘four fights’ dispute.

University of Glasgow responds

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “The University regrets that UCU is proceeding with industrial action.

“We are assessing the extent of the strike, but it appears the large majority of staff continue to work normally. We are doing everything we can to minimise disruption to students during the action.”

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