91原创

UCU staff strike suspended as independent investigation agreed

‘Constructive discussions’ reported in main sector union’s in-house industrial dispute

June 19, 2024
UCU rally in London
Source: Tom Williams

Strike action at the UK’s largest higher education union has been suspended following “constructive discussions” between University and College Union (UCU) management and Unite.

UCU staff who are represented by?Unite voted to?walk out amid accusations of?racism, breaches of?collective agreements and broken industrial relations. The industrial action had been scheduled to?take place for five days over the next month, starting on 26?June.

Now UCU has accepted a request to establish an independent investigation, and has said it would appoint an independent expert to undertake an assessment of its organisational culture alongside an ongoing process at the Acas mediation service.

Unite has agreed to participate in an upcoming meeting with UCU to establish the terms of reference for a review into racism within the organisation.

91原创

In a joint statement from UCU and Unite, the unions said: “Both parties have agreed to continue to engage the services of Acas and keep lines of communication open. The priority of both parties is to avoid industrial action, restore good working relations and build trust.”

The joint statement said that Unite had agreed to suspend the strike action planned for 26?June “and to consider suspension of further action pending the outcome of further discussion”.

91原创

A UCU spokesperson added: “We welcome the decision by Unite to stand down the day of strike action in light of constructive talks with Acas on Monday; we look forward to those talks continuing next week and hope that further progress will be made.”

The strike action had been scheduled to coincide with briefings due to be held by Jo?Grady, the UCU general secretary, to engage with members on details of her second term.

An initial day of strike action had been held on 30?May, resulting in the cancellation of?part of?UCU’s flagship annual congress, which had been due to decide on a number of important motions.

A?91原创 report previously revealed allegations of a?“culture of?fear” in?the workplace, amid claims that black staff members were victimised and discriminated against.

91原创

On announcing the strike action last week, Unite said: “[UCU has] a?fundamentally broken organisational culture and damaging approach to industrial relations which is adversely affecting the mental and physical health and safety, terms and conditions and security of employment of our members.”

It further accused UCU of being “in denial” over the issues, and said there had been “no?acknowledgement of the damaging impact that working in such a?toxic culture” was having on staff, “nor of the dysfunctionality and chaos of organisational operations”.

UCU and Unite are due to hold further talks facilitated by Acas on 26?June.

juliette.rowsell@timeshighereducation.com

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Register
Please Login or Register to read this article.

Related articles

Sponsored