Following the UCU announcement on 16 November, where the Union announced members will take industrial action in December across multiple UK universities over pay and working conditions, Glasgow’s SRC have emphasised their support for the strikers.
On Monday, 22 November, the University of Glasgow’s Student Representative Council (SRC) released a statement announcing that it has voted to support upcoming university staff strikes announced last week by the University and College Union (UCU).
The SRC calls on the the university to “work to minimise the disruption to students’ learning in the face of the action being taken”, “make concessions and changes in local [policy] areas”, such as pay equity and workload demands, and “use its voice in the national negotiations responsibly”. Furthermore, the council reassures UofG students that their access to study spaces, including the Library and the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, will not be affected by the strikes and reiterates that “this strike has not been called to disrupt or disadvantage students”.
On Tuesday 16 November, the University and College Union (UCU) announced that its members will walk out for three days in early December, which will impact 58 universities across the UK, including the University of Glasgow. UCU aims for this strike action to address staff pay, pension, and working conditions.
Jo Grady, the UCU general secretary, said: “Strikes over three consecutive days are set to hit university campuses next month unless employers get around the table and take staff concerns over pension cuts, pay and working conditions seriously. If employers remain intent on slashing pensions and exploiting staff who have kept this sector afloat during a pandemic then campuses will face strike action before Christmas, which will escalate into spring with reballots and further industrial action.”
In addition to the three strike days, UCU declared that staff at 64 universities have a mandate to engage in industrial action short of a strike for five months, also beginning on Wednesday 1 December. This will include actions such as refusing additional duties and strictly working to contract.
During the recent Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, Jeanette Findlay, the vice president of UCU Scotland told The Glasgow Guardian that “[the University of Glasgow] had comfortably met the Tory anti-trade union law criteria of having 50% of a turnout” and that the institution voted 74% in favour of strike action.
According to their website, the union is demanding a £2,500 increase for all staff, an end to pay discrimination based on race, gender and disability, the elimination of zero-hours and other casualised contracts, and action to address unmanagable workloads. Previous strike action at UK higher education institutions took place in late 2019 and early 2020, which was curtailed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.