Open University staff to launch eight day strike action in Milton Keynes

The Open University is to be hit with eight days of strike action over pension pay and working conditions.

The strike will start next Monday, November 25, and staff will be picketing the main entrance to the Walton Hall site. It will last until Wednesday December 4.

The Open University

The Open University

Some 60 other universities in the UK will also be striking following the failure between bosses and university representatives and the University and College Union (UCU) to reach an agreement.

Earlier this week UCU accused universities of “playing games” after their representatives refused to even discuss pay.

The union claims talks were no better yesterday (Wednesday) and there is no choice but to strike.

At the Open University 76 per cent of UCU members polled voted for strikes over changes to USS pensions while 72 per cent backed strikes over pay and conditions.

As well as eight strike days, union members will begin “action short of a strike” from Monday. This involves actions such as working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU Open University branch president Caitlin Adams said: “Strike action is a last resort, but refusal of employers to deal with absolutely key issues have left us with no alternative. It is astounding and insulting that universities have not done more to work with us to try to find a way to resolves these disputes.

‘We hope students will continue to put pressure on university vice-chancellors to get their representatives back round the negotiating table for serious talks with the union’

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has called on both sides to get round the table for talks and the National Union of Students says students stand shoulder to shoulder with staff in the disputes.