UNISON has given notification of a formal dispute with the higher education employer, the University and Colleges Employers Association, after a consultative ballot of members showed that 83% of members across the UK reject the 3% pay offer and wish to move forward into an industrial action ballot.
The national turnout was 36.2%, but 11 branches had a turnout of over 50%, with 17 others managing between 40 and 50%.
The next steps will see branches have the opportunity to opt out of an industrial action ballot, with that ballot opening on 22 July. It will close for Scotland on 19 August and for England and Wales on 26 August, with potential industrial action in Scotland from 9 September and in England and Wales, from 19 September at the start of university term during student welcome weeks.
The union believes that the results of the consultative ballot reflects the widespread worry and anger of relatively low-paid members who are struggling in the face of rising bills.
Pay rises in higher education over the last 13 years have all been below inflation, so the purchasing power of members’ earnings has fallen over that period, and the current cost of living crisis has brought this to a head.
• Members at the University of Leeds will be out on strike again from 20-24 June as part of our continuing national dispute over last year’s national pay rise, which was only 1.5%.