Day 4 of the UCU Strike: the strikes continue…

Source: Metro Graphics

Pay disputes are starting to be settled or partially settled in places:

  • 1,800 bus drivers employed by Abellio in London will now receive a 18% increase.
  • The Welsh Government made a fresh offer to health unions on 3 February which led to a suspension of all health strikes in Wales bar ambulance workers from the Unite union while negotiations continue.
  • On Friday the TSSA union (17,000 members) announced that members are to be given a vote on offers from the train companies in their long-running national dispute over pay, job security and conditions.

However:

  • Ambulance workers, teachers and university staff are amongst those striking over the next 3 weeks.
  • The very much larger union, the RMT (82,000 members), have rejected the train companies’ deal (9% over 2 years) due to the additional conditions attached affecting safety on the railways.
  • The Scottish Government is in talks with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and other unions representing NHS staff over a pay settlement for 2023-24, after imposing a pay deal which would give health workers an average 7.5% rise in December, which RCN nurses rejected.
  • Nurses from A&E, intensive care and cancer wards could join fresh strikes in England, as the RCN considers a continuous 48-hour strike, which could begin in weeks.

According to Reuters, a recent Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) survey indicates that the gap between public and private employers’ wage expectations has widened. Planned pay settlements in the public sector fell to 2% from 3% in the quarter before, compared to a median of 5% in the private sector.

Meanwhile the UCU and the four other higher education unions (EIS, GMB, UNISON and Unite) and employer representatives from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) have agreed to further talks mediated by conciliation service Acas. The discussions began yesterday and continue today, covering pay, equality, job insecurity and workloads.

The strike continues today for three consecutive days. In total 18 days of strike action are planned throughout February and March, with a new strike ballot planned for March.

It seems fairly clear that public sector employers need to offer rather more than they have to date if any of these disputes are going to be resolved any time soon.

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