By Matt Solomons |
The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that up to 43 insititutions across the UK – including the University of Exeter – could take strike action following ballots over both pensions and pay and working conditions.
Over 79% of UCU members voted in favour of strikes meaning that nearly one-million students (953,871) could be affected if striking occurs. The voting saw a 53% turnout, enough to beat the 50% turnout threshold required for strike action.
Just over 50% of UCU-affiliated University of Exeter staff voted in the ballot with 83% supporting industrial action. The result marks the second time in three years that the university has backed strike action after participating in UCU striking during the 2017/18 academic year.
“The results can only be interpreted as clear support for strike action…”
Responding to the news, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The results can only be interpreted as clear support for strike action over pensions, pay and working conditions. The ballots reflect just how unhappy and angry staff are at the state of higher education in the UK.
“Universities now have to come back to us prepared to work seriously to address these problems. If they choose to ignore this message from their staff then strike action looks inevitable.”
In a statement released today, Exeter’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Tim Quine said: ‘We’ve been taking steps to prepare for any potential industrial action and have been working closely with the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union to ensure the measures we put in place are the right ones for you and your course.’
“…The SU is committed to supporting and representing the interests of our students…”
The Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union also released a statement. In a joint letter, Joe Rigby (SU President Exeter), Sarah Redman (SU President Student Experience) and Allie Guy (SU President Welfare & Inclusivity) said: ‘The University plans to mitigate any disruption to students, as far as possible, and The SU is committed to supporting and representing the interests of our students in this process.
‘As more details are released, we will be asking you for your views, so that we can represent student opinion to the best of our ability through this period.
‘The SU recognises that this issue is complex and difficult, and that there are many factors to consider for all parties involved. We will be continuing discussions with our students, the University, and UCU.’