Oxford dons back strike action

first_imgIn a ballot held by the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), sixty-two per cent of members, voted in support of strike action, and seventy-seven per cent were in favour of action short of a walkout, which might include working only their set hours, according to the UCU.The strike is motivated by a bid for an improvement in the pay of the UCU’s members. The UCU claims that staff at the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University have not seen their pay rise in line with inflation. In response, they allege, their salaries have decreased by 13% in real terms over recent years.The UCU represents lecturers and other staff at the Universities of Oxford and Oxford Brookes. The results of the ballot were announced on 10 October. 35% of UCU members took part in the vote.Strike action has also been supported by Unison and the results of a ballot of Unite members are expected to be revealed on Monday.A UCU spokesperson told Cherwell, “We are very pleased that we have a clear mandate for strike action and the majority of people who voted, voted for both strike action and action short of a strike.They added, “We hope the employers will agree to come back to the table and sit down with us and talk this through. Strike action is always a last resort. The ball is in the employers’ court and we hope they now recognise the anger felt by staff over their miserly pay offer and start working with us to resolve the problem.”Dr John Parrington, a fellow of Worcester College, is one academic who supports the strike action. He commented, “I voted for strike action and action short of a strike and the fact that so many others have shows how angry lecturers are about the erosion of our pay and conditions. Surely it is not wrong to want to stop one’s pay being cut by 13% in real terms since 2009 while our workload increases.”He added, “I didn’t vote for action lightly because the last thing I want is for our hard-working students to be hurt by any industrial action. But I hope they will realise that this isn’t just about pay but about the whole future of accessible state-funded education.”Dr Parrington also said, “I believe that the fight for decent pay and conditions for lecturers and the fight for free and accessible higher education are intimately linked and as such lecturers and students need to work together and fight for a publically-funded university system free to all who need it.”Tom Rutland, OUSU President, told Cherwell, “It is important that University academics and other staff are properly supported and fairly paid and there are clear benefits to students when staff are happy and motivated. OUSU’s position on the upcoming strike is one that will be made in consultation with the student body.”The University of Oxford refused to comment.last_img

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