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University lecturers' union to ballot for strike action

TENS of thousands of university lecturers will ballot for strike action over pay, their union announced today.

The 70,000 lecturers, who are represented by University College Union (UCU) in 143 universities across Britain, will begin balloting next week.

The ballot is related to the refusal of university bosses to improve on the 2 per cent pay offer made during negotiations last May.

UCU says that the offer does nothing to address decreasing rates of pay in higher education, where it has fallen by 21 per cent in the past decade.

The union has also sought guarantees that universities would attempt to tackle issues relating to the gender pay gap, as well as longstanding problems relating to insecure contracts and excessive workloads.

UCU head of policy Matt Waddup said: “Staff have concerns about spiralling workloads, pay inequality and the continued casualisation of the workforce.

“Yet universities have failed to engage with us in these negotiations, which has undermined the credibility of national bargaining and left us in a situation where we have no alternative but to ballot our members.

“Staff want these important issues to be taken seriously, and that includes the 21 per cent loss in the value of their pay since 2009, which the recently imposed 2 per cent pay offer does nothing to address.”

The result of the ballot is expected at the end of February.

It follows a wave of strike action at universities last year over pensions, the longest ever strike in the history of higher education in Britain.

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