Fund the future - site banner : This link opens in a new window

Covid-19 (coronavirus): UCU has produced advice for members. Find more information and updates here.

Protect staff and students: sign the petition calling for fair funding and online learning in higher education!

UCU announces 14 strike days at 74 UK universities in February and March

3 February 2020 | last updated: 11 February 2020

Seventy-four UK universities* will be hit with 14 days of strike action in February and March, UCU announced today. The action will start on Thursday 20 February and escalate each week, culminating with a week-long walkout from Monday 9 to Friday 13 March.

The disputes centre on the sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and rising costs for members, and on universities' failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. The full strike dates are:

  • Week one - Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February
  • Week two - Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February
  • Week three - Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March
  • Week four - Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight days in November and December last year in action that affected around one million students. This next wave of strikes will affect another 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students, as more UCU branches crossed a 50% turnout threshold required by law for them to take industrial action.

The union also warned it would ballot members after this wave of strikes if the disputes could not be resolved, to ensure branches could take action until the end of the academic year. Strike mandates are only legally valid for six months, so branches who walked out in November would need to secure a fresh mandate to be able to continue to take action after April.

As well as the strike days, union members are undertaking "action short of a strike". This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

'We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.'

Universities affected by strike action

Both disputes (47):
1. Aston University
2. Bangor University
3. Cardiff University
4. University of Durham
5. Heriot-Watt University
6. Loughborough University
7. Newcastle University
8. The Open University
9. The University of Bath
10. The University of Dundee
11. The University of Leeds
12. The University of Manchester
13. The University of Sheffield
14. University of Nottingham
15. The University of Stirling
16. University College London
17. The University of Birmingham
18. The University of Bradford
19. The University of Bristol
20. The University of Cambridge
21. The University of Edinburgh
22. The University of Exeter
23. The University of Essex
24. The University of Glasgow
25. The University of Lancaster
26. The University of Leicester
27. City University
28. Goldsmiths College
29. Queen Mary University of London
30. Royal Holloway, University of London
31. The University of Reading
32. The University of Southampton
33. The University of St Andrews
34. Courtauld Institute of Art
35. The University of Strathclyde
36. The University of Wales
37. The University of Warwick
38. The University of York
39. The University of Liverpool
40. The University of Sussex
41. The University of Aberdeen
42. The University of Ulster
43. Queen's University Belfast
44. Birkbeck College, University of London
45. SOAS, University of London
46. The University of Oxford
47. The University of East Anglia

Pay and conditions dispute only (22):
1. Bishop Grosseteste University
2. Bournemouth University
3. Edge Hill University
4. Glasgow Caledonian University
5. Glasgow School of Art
6. Liverpool Hope University
7. Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
8. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
9. St Mary's University College, Belfast
10. Roehampton University
11. Sheffield Hallam University
12. The University of Brighton
13. The University of Kent
14. Bath Spa University
15. Royal College of Art
16. University of Huddersfield
17. University of Winchester
18. University of East London
19. Leeds Trinity University
20. UAL
University  of the Arts London
21. De Montfort University
22. University of Greenwich

USS pensions dispute only (5):
1. Scottish Association of Marine Science
2. Institute for Development Studies
3. Keele University
4. King's College London
5. Imperial College London