After re-balloting in the new year, the Imperial UCU Branch surpassed the legally required minimum 50% turnout and voted in favour of a mandate for strike action on two issues:
- Local dispute over pay with College Management;
- National dispute over pensions with USS.
After the 8 days of strike action before Christmas which Imperial UCU did not take part in due to not meeting the requirement of 50% of ballots returned by eligible voters, Imperial UCU is taking part in the 14 days of strike action across February and March.
Summary of Pay Dispute
Our pay settlements have fallen behind the increase in the cost of living over the last 10 years. In 2019 College Management made a pay offer that did not even begin to address this long term decline in our salaries. This pay offer was rejected by all three campus unions. The college has now imposed a settlement on all staff without the agreement of the UCU. In addition to inflation, staff pension contributions have also risen (see below) from 6.5% of salary in 2011 to 9.6% today.
Summary of Pensions Dispute
Our USS pension scheme has been under attack for nearly 10 years. By 2018 our pension contributions had already risen to 8% of our salary. Since then our contributions have been raised twice more to the current 9.6%, and in 2021 they are set to rise again to 11%. All these rises have been based on a discredited valuation of the USS Scheme, meaning we’re paying more and more for a pension which is worth less and less. The 2018 USS strike showed that the only time the employers have been prepared to listen to us is when are prepared to go on strike.
We have been hit by a real-terms pay cut AND increased pensions contributions.
The full strike dates are:
- week one: Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
- week two: Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
- week three: Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
- week four: Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March.