Thousands of university workers including administrators, cleaners, security and catering staff will vote today (Friday) on whether to strike over pay, says UNISON.
Employees overwhelmingly rejected a 3% pay offer from the University and Colleges Employers Association in May.
More than four in five (83%) workers turned down the increase that does little to help with the crushing cost-of-living pressures staff face, says UNISON.
The union says employers refused to increase their offer despite UNISON negotiators making the case for a rise of 2% above inflation (which is currently 11.8) after a decade of pay freezes and real-terms pay cuts.
Staff struggling to make ends meet as prices continue to soar and have been left with no option but to consider striking, the union adds.
More than 20,000 workers across 93 universities will be balloted, says UNISON. Other education unions, including the University and College Union, have also rejected the 3% offer and are expected to ballot staff on strike action, the union adds.
UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “University staff have endured years of wage stagnation. With prices going through the roof and inflation at an all-time high a 3% pay offer is a significant pay cut.
“No worker wants to go out on strike, but staff can’t afford to feed their kids, pay for housing or fill up their petrol tanks. They are desperate for a wage increase that reflects the work they do to keep universities going and to make up for years of poverty pay.
“Employers must invest in staff or they’ll leave the sector for better paid, less stressful jobs in retail or hospitality.”
Notes to editors:
– The strike ballot opens on the 22 July and closes on 19 August in Scotland and on 26 August in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
– The retail prices index rate of inflation is currently 11.8%.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.