This afternoon, the University and College Union (UCU) confirmed eight days of strike action to affect 60 UK universities, including the University of St Andrews.
The strike action will take place from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December.
It is unclear how students at the University of St Andrews will be affected by this action. Regarding the matter, a spokesperson from the University told The Saint, “This is primarily a national dispute which can only be resolved at a national level.
“We urge both sides in this national dispute to resolve differences as soon as possible by meaningful negotiation to reach a settlement that is fair to staff and sustainable for their institutions.”
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said in a press release, “The first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions.
“Any general election candidate would be over the moon with a result along the lines of what we achieved last week. Universities can be in no doubt about the strength of feeling on these issues and we will be consulting branches whose desire to strike was frustrated by anti-union laws about reballoting.”
On 31 October 2019, UCU members voted for strike action in response to two disputes.
In the USS ballot, 79 per cent of UCU members voted to back strike action. On their social media, the UCU described the situation saying, “University staff being balloted for strike action are paying far more for their pension, but will lose tens of thousands of pounds in retirement because of a series of detrimental changes made to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) since 2011.”
According to First Actuarial, members will pay £40,000 more in to their pension but receive almost £200,000 less in retirement.
Out of 554 mailed-out ballots to University of St Andrews UCU members, 83.49 per cent (268 members) voted in support of strike action and 16.51 per cent (53 members) voted against, with a 57.94 (321 members) turnout, surpassing the turnout threshold and validating their vote.
In the pay and working conditions ballot, the UCU cited findings from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) that the pay of staff had dropped by around 17 per cent in real-terms since 2009.
Out of 559 mailed-in ballots from St Andrews UCU members, 87.27 per cent (281 members) voted in support of strike action, with 12.73 (41 members) against, with a turnout of 57.60 per cent (322 members), surpassing the turnout threshold.
These strikes come after a 14-day strike action at the University of St Andrews and 60 other UK universities in February and March 2018, which led to students around the UK demanding compensation for missed class time.