Hundreds of workers went on strike over pay, conditions and pensions (Image: Lucy Pegg)
Staff from Oxford’s two universities went on strike this week in an ongoing dispute over pay, conditions and pensions.
Lecturers, librarians and researchers from both Oxford Brookes University and the University of Oxford, who are members of University and College Union (UCU), headed to picket lines around the city with placards in hand.
Strike action took place across a 48-hour period on Thursday (November 24) and Friday (November 25), with a further strike date planned for next Wednesday (November 30).
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Hundreds of university staff went on strike in Oxford (Image: Dr Alex Powell)
Thousands of university staff across England, Wales and Scotland also walked out on the same days.
Staff from Oxford University went on strike over both pay and conditions and cuts to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the principal pension scheme for universities and Higher Education institutions in the UK.
While workers from Oxford Brookes were striking just in relation to pay and conditions.
The union claims members have seen their pay cut by 25 per cent since 2009 and have lost 35 per cent from their expected pension income.
Mark Graham, 42, a Professor of Internet Geography at the University of Oxford, decided to strike because he has witnessed the “erosion” of the pay, pensions and working conditions of academics for years.
“Our employers don’t seem to care. The University sector is generating record incomes, and vice-chancellors take home enormous pay packets.
“But the rest of us are left out to dry. We are faced with an enormous real-terms pay cut, and a series of cuts to our pensions that means an average member loses a third of their retirement income. Enough is enough,” he told the Press Association.
Lucy Pegg, an Oxford City Council Green councillor for the Donnington ward, spoke at the Oxford Brookes picket line.
She said: “As a Green, I stand firmly behind striking workers, firmly in support of the fight for decent, secure jobs for fair pay. And I stand up against this shameless push from university management and our Conservative Government to make higher education about money, not learning.
The marketisation of universities harms academic and non-academic staff, students, research itself – the only people it helps are those lining their pockets with the profits from our institutions. When universities are making record income, why shouldn’t workers at very least be given a meaningful pay rise as we suffer this cost of living crisis? Why shouldn’t you be given security in your contracts, so you can plan your futures? And how dare they cut money from your pensions, taking thousands of pounds of future income from you?
“I’m so happy to see that there are now hoardes of people who support these demands and support you in taking strike action to make them a reality. Survey after survey shows that the public understand why workers are taking industrial action and support them in laying down tools and heading to a picket line.”
This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.
You can get in touch with her by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry
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