UNISON’s higher education service group executive has voted to consult its 40,000 members in the sector, with a recommendation to reject the employers’ “derisory” 1% pay offer with a view to taking industrial action.
The union called on the employers to make an offer that would reflect the high cost of living and the real-term pay cuts that staff have endured in recent years.
UNISON’s head of higher education Donna Rowe-Merriman, said: “This offer falls far below what is required to address the gap between incomes and the cost of living. Higher education workers have been hard hit by year-on-year real-term pay cuts and large numbers still take home poverty pay.
“It is unacceptable that more than 4,000 HE workers across the UK earn below the living wage – the minimum people need to give their families a decent standard of living. HE institutions can apparently afford high salaries for vice chancellors and senior managers, so they can afford to pay the living wage as a bottom rate.
“All staff are under real pressure from employers to be increasingly flexible and work harder every day. They face job insecurity, outsourcing and the increasing use of precarious zero hours contracts. And all they get in return is this miserly increase.”