THE University of Bradford will be hit with eight days of strike action from Monday after no agreement could be reached between national university representatives and the University and College Union (UCU) over pensions, pay and working conditions.

Striking staff will be on picket lines from 8am at the Great Horton Road entrance in Bradford.

Earlier this week, UCU accused universities of playing games after their representatives refused to even discuss pay. The union said things were no better at talks on Wednesday over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), where their representatives failed to make a serious offer.

UCU said it feared that universities had learnt nothing from last year’s dispute, when university campuses were brought to a standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action.

Last month, UCU members backed strike action in ballots over both pensions, and pay and working conditions. The results mean that UCU members at 60 UK universities are walking out on Monday.

The disputes centre on changes to USS pensions and universities’ failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

At the University of Bradford, 74% of UCU members polled voted for strikes over changes to USS pensions and 67% backed strikes over pay and conditions.

As well as eight strike days, union members will begin “action short of a strike” from Monday. This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: "Strike action is a last resort, but universities’ refusal to deal with these key issues have left us with no alternative. It is staggering and insulting that universities have not done more to work with us to try and find a way to resolve these disputes.

"We hope students will continue to put pressure on university vice-chancellors to get their representatives back round the negotiating table for serious talks with the union."

A spokesperson for the University said: "Some University of Bradford staff are taking strike action and action short of a strike from Monday.

"The action is part of a national dispute affecting 60 institutions.

"Members of the University and College Union UCU are striking over changes to the national Higher Education pension scheme (USS) and the 2019/20 national pay award. The University remains hopeful that the national dispute on these issues can be resolved as soon as possible.

"The University is doing everything it can to ensure that this has minimal impact on students and expect the majority of teaching activity during this action to take place as normal.

"The dates of the strike action are: November 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and December 2, 3, 4 and the action short of a strike (ASOS) is intended to be continuous, which means it can take place throughout the period of 25 November 2019 to no later than 29 April 2020.  Action short of a strike involves staff:

  • Only undertaking duties specified in their contracts of employment;
  • not covering for absent colleagues;
  • not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action;
  • not sharing materials relating to lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action;
  • and not undertaking any voluntary activities.

"During this period, graduation, examinations, assessments and all learning and student support services, including the library, will continue to operate as normal.

"The University is working closely with the Students’ Union to advise and support students."