Human Resources

Industrial Action 2021

Updates and information for staff on potential industrial action relating to UCU’s disputes regarding USS and the ‘Four Fights’.

The University and College Union (UCU) has secured a mandate for industrial action across many UK Universities in a ballot that closed on 4th November. The mandate is for both strike action and action short of a strike, on proposed changes to USS and its ‘Four Fights’ of casualisation, gender, ethnicity and disability pay inequality, workload and the 2021/22 pay award.

Key dates

Strike action: three full days from Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd December 2021.

Continuous Action Short of a Strike: from Wednesday 1st December 2021 involving UCU members working in line with their contractual hours and duties and not volunteering to do more.

Next steps

The University will enact contingency plans to mitigate significant disruption to the delivery of learning and teaching, and student experience, whilst maintaining academic standards.

Students will be updated regularly at:

Industrial action information for students

Information and resources

To inform and support staff throughout this period we have created a dedicated Industrial Action site to answer your questions and provide further information on how this may affect University operations. This includes specific guidance for staff who are planning to take part in the action, and for line managers.

Industrial Action

A briefing to support University staff in understanding the current UCU disputes around pensions and the ‘Four Fights’ is also available:


A range of information and resources from Universities Superannuation Scheme, Universities UK, and the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association to support staff in understanding the matters underpinning the two disputes is available below:

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

How will changes to USS benefits affect scheme members? (PDF)

The 2020 USS Valuation – summary for staff (PDF)

The USS 2020 Valuation - Topical FAQs (PDF)

USS pension scheme – summary for students (PDF)

Glossary of key terms

Russell Group

Video: Why proposals to reform USS pensions are need to keep it affordable
Video from the Russell Group about 'USS - and the question of affordability'.

Universities UK (UUK)

Video: uuk-pensions-lower-cost-option-october-2021 (external UUK video)
External video from UUK about USS Pensions.

Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)

Current pay negotiations