UNISON members working in higher education were on the picket lines today to strike against a 1% pay offer.
Strike day began at midnight as security guards at Glasgow Caledonian University started a day of shutdown of universities and higher education colleges across the UK.
The security guards were joined by colourfully costumed Cinderella, the Ugly Sisters of Corporate Greed and the Fairy Godmother of Decent Pay Rises.
Neath Port Talbot branch had a Halloween theme with a pumpkin carved to demand ‘fair pay’ while the University of Hertfordshire picket was joined by a dog in a special ‘fair pay in HE’ costume.
In London, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis joined workers at London’s UCL and reported a “fantastic atmosphere as our members call for fair pay in higher education,” before moving on to the University of Westminster and the London College of Fashion, where strikers were out in force.
The North West was holding a strike day rally at Manchester University’s students union, 13 universities in the region were taking part in the strike. UNISON president Maureen LeMarinel was out giving support to members (including the grim reaper) at UCLAN in Preston this morning, and will soon be travelling to Salford and Manchester.
Helen Oliver, chair of UNISON’s national young members’ forum sent a message of support saying: ”The national young members’ forum sends solidarity greetings to our members in higher education as you take strike action today in pursuit of fair pay.
“An offer of 1% is effectively offering a pay cut and this is clearly unacceptable, and your members have spoken. We encourage young members to lend their full support to the action. The forum wishes you every success and, as it is Halloween, please do your best to give the employers a real scare!”
On social media Marie Morley reported “good strong picket lines on all three university of bath entrances,” media commentator Owen Jones called for “a very loud show of support for UCU, UNISON and Unite members on strike”, Hannah Packham told of “excellent picket line at St Luke’s campus at the University of Exeter”, while Yvette Russell found “multiple pickets at Queen University in Belfast.”
And it wasn’t only staff speaking up, Birkbeck’s university magazine The Lamp and Owl tweeted: “To all at Birkbeck taking strike action today – to show our solidarity we won’t be crossing picket lines to use our newsroom.”