Autumn term strikes set to go ahead at 13 universities

HE members have suffered a real-terms pay cut of around 25% over the last 14 years, due to year on year rises that were below inflation

A UNISON flag waving against a blue sky outside The Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK

The results are in for the higher education strike ballot that ran from 31 May to 31 July – and 13 higher education institutions have met the threshold for action.

The current offer from the University and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA), a 5-8% pay rise depending on salary spinal point, equates to a real-terms pay cut given inflation was over 10% this year.

Although some money was backdated to earlier this year, it’s still not enough for staff to live on with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

HE members have suffered a real-terms pay cut of around 25% over the last 14 years, due to year on year uplifts that were below inflation

The 13 universities that have met the threshold for action are: University of Dundee, University of Gloucestershire, University of the West of England, Leeds Trinity University, University of Brighton, Glasgow School of Art, Solent University, Plymouth Marjon University, Arts University Bournemouth, University of Glasgow, City University, Glasgow Caledonian University and University of Chichester.

Further details on strike action will be announced in due course.

More information is available here.

UNISON senior national officer Ruth Smith said: “Our members have spoken. It is clear that they feel very strongly about UCEA’s failure to offer them a pay rise this year which makes up for 14 years of erosion of the value of their pay.

“Jobs in higher education used to be seen as reasonably well-paid and secure. By paying tiny increases year on year for all this time, the employers, and successive governments as their funders, have turned them into poorly paid jobs, where our members struggle to make ends meet and feel like they are marginalised and under-valued.

“Our members, who include cleaners, caterers, domestic staff, security staff, library staff and administrators, are the bedrock of the higher education system that half of the nation’s young people rely on for their next step into the adult world after school.

“Our members look after those young people, and ensure they have a good experience. It is time the employers looked after our members in return, before they vote with their feet.

“UCEA have had a rocky year as a result of industrial action across the sector. Our results indicate that is going to continue to be the case as the autumn term starts off with more staff expressing their unhappiness by taking strike action, unless they come back to us with more on pay now.”