Industrial action is gathering pace across the UK and on Thursday Royal Mail, lecturers and teachers have all walkout in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions which is the largest strike action seen so far this year.
On Thursday and Friday and again on 30 November around 70,000 members of the University and College Union (UCU) will strike over pay, contracts and pensions.
Around 2.5 million students will be affected by the strikes and the UCU has warned that more escalation will take place next year if things are not resolved.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said, “University staff are taking the biggest strike action in the history of higher education.
“They have had enough of falling pay, pension cuts and gig economy working conditions – all whilst vice-chancellors enjoy lottery-win salaries and live it up in their grace and favour mansions.
“Staff are burnt out, but they are fighting back and they will bring the whole sector to a standstill.
“Vice-chancellors only have themselves to blame. Their woeful leadership has led to the biggest vote for strike action ever in our sector.
“Students are standing with staff because they know this can’t go on, and they know that a sector which generates tens of billions of pounds each year from tuition fees can afford to treat its staff fairly.
“Further disruption can be avoided if the concerns of staff are addressed with urgency. But the overpaid vice-chancellors killing our sector should be under no illusion – 70,000 dedicated university workers are ready to take even bigger action in the new year.”
Chloe Field, National Union of Students vice president for higher education, said, “Students stand in solidarity with university staff going on strike.
“We have always been clear that staff working conditions are students’ learning conditions, and for more than a decade both have come under attack from a sector that puts profits above education.”
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at the Royal Mail are also on strike today and again on Friday.
The Royal Mail strikes will affect the busiest days of the year with Black Friday and then Cyber Monday, and there are also a series of strikes planned for Christmas Eve.
Royal Mail has seen one of the longest running disputes and on Wednesday they made their “best and final offer” to resolve strike action.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said, “We are disappointed that instead of reaching a compromise to avoid major disruption, Royal Mail have chosen to pursue such an aggressive strategy.
“We will not accept that 115,000 Royal Mail workers – the people who kept us connected during the pandemic, and made millions in profit for bosses and shareholders – take such a devastating blow to their livelihoods.
“These proposals spell the end of Royal Mail as we know it and its degradation from a national institution into an unreliable, Uber-style gig economy company.
“Make no mistake about it, British postal workers are facing an Armageddon moment.
“We urge every member of the public to stand with their postie, and back them like never before.”