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Conclusion of recent strike action

19 Dec 2019

Information and next steps

University archway

The recent strike action related to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and pay has ended, though action short of a strike is still in place. We understand that the University and College Union (UCU) Higher Education Committee will meet in January to decide on its next course of action, and whether further strike action will follow.

National negotiations

There are ongoing discussions between UCU and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and Universities UK (UUK) as the representatives of employers on pay and other employment matters and the USS pension, respectively, and it is our continued hope that a resolution will be found that brings the current disputes to an end. UCEA has published an update on its website. We continue to encourage UUK and UCEA to engage with UCU. 

On Friday the USS Joint Expert Panel published its second report. The report makes a series of recommendations concerning the governance of the pension scheme, the valuation methodology, and the scheme’s sustainability. It can be read on the USS Employers website and there is also a Q&A. UUK will shortly ask for our University’s views on the report and we will share this response with colleagues and discuss it with local UCU.

Levels of strike action

Though we may have some staff who are yet to notify us, the numbers of staff declaring that they were on strike in the industrial action was an average of 441 per day over the period (21%) of UCU members. This compares to an average number of 662 staff on strike per day (32% of UCU members) in the 2018 action. The lowest number of people on strike on an individual day was 397 and the highest 472. The impact of this varied across different areas and the breakdown has been uploaded to the document store.

We have previously provided information on the proportion of UCU members who voted for strike action. 

Prioritising our students

We fully respect the right of our staff to take industrial action and we recognise that many of them have had to make difficult choices about whether or not to take industrial action, especially given their concerns over our students.

Our focus is on ensuring that affected students receive learning to cover all their unit level intended learning outcomes (ILOs) and we are undertaking a review to identify any ILOs that have not been covered, and what mitigations are being put in place.

While recognising that action short of a strike continues, we expect that our staff will prioritise helping students who may have missed teaching in achieving their intended learning outcomes.

Phasing of pay deductions

The Senior Leadership Team has decided that pay from the November strike days will be deducted in January and that pay for December strike days will be deducted in February. We have published detail about this on StaffNet

The University of Manchester Students’ Union and the University have confirmed that the money withheld from staff salaries will be reinvested into benefiting students in the following areas:

  • Additional investment into disability and student support services
  • Additional funding for scholarships for financially disadvantaged students
  • A series of student-led sustainability initiatives.

Kind regards

Karen Heaton

Director of Human Resources

More information