Dons on strike alert

News

Oxford faces a don strike as the University’s academic staff ballots on industrial action. The University and College Union, which represents academics, lecturers, and researchers, has declared itself ‘in dispute with the University of Oxford’ over its members’ wages.

Industrial action could begin as soon as this term according to a prior consultative ballot and has been linked to the University’s recent use of zero-hour and non-permanent contracts.

In an email to its Oxford members, the UCU stated that ‘members are urged to vote for both strike action and action short of a strike’. The ballot is a response to what the UCU describes in the same document as ‘years of below-inflation pay settlements and therefore real-term cuts in pay.’

Notice of Intention to Ballot was issued to higher education institutions including Oxford earlier this month, with the ballot to close on 10 October.

Dr Gajendra Singh, a member of Kellogg College and the UCU, spoke in support of strike action, stating that ‘the fight for pay is not just a narrow sectional issue. It is about defending against the further neo-liberalization and casualization of academia.’

He continued, ‘Academic staff do not take industrial action lightly. We love what it is we do.’

Nathan Akehurst, a third-year at Lincoln College, said that ‘Between pay cuts, unstable contracts and the crippling and unnecessary effect of austerity on higher education, it is unsurprising that staff are striking back. If action takes place students should be there to show support throughout, both for our staff and to oppose a university where we pay more and get less.’

The University declined to comment.

PHOTO/Pruneau