University strikes: UCU action paused over seven dayson February 17, 2023 at 9:17 pm

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The union said it had made “significant progress” across multiple issues during talks with employers.

UCU members strike in LeedsImage source, REX/Shutterstock

Seven days of strikes by tens of thousands of university staff have been paused.

The planned action during February and early March will no longer go ahead, said the University and College Union (UCU).

The union said it had made “significant progress” across multiple issues during talks with employers.

Pausing walkouts over the next fortnight will enable a “period of calm”, Jo Grady of the UCU said.

The action had been due to take place on 21, 22, 23, 27 and 28 February and 1 and 2 March.

Planned strikes after these dates, for 16, 17, 20, 21 and 22 March, will still go ahead.

The dispute is over pay and conditions, while some members are also striking over pensions.

Ms Grady, UCU general secretary, said: “To allow our ongoing negotiations to continue in a constructive environment, we have agreed to pause action across our pay and working conditions and USS pensions disputes for the next two weeks and create a period of calm.”

University staff on strike had been facing 18 days without pay this month and next – until this latest announcement.

Some UCU members said on social media that they would struggle to afford it, but many of those believed the strike action could lead to long-term financial gain.

UCU has a hardship fund for its members on strike.

Students had also been facing 18 days without classes, often after already facing disruption to their learning because of Covid.

When university staff walked out in November over the same dispute, one student told the BBC she felt she was “not getting what [she] paid for”.

The National Union of Students (NUS) has previously said it was supporting the strikes because “staff working conditions are students’ learning conditions”.

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