UNISON launches higher education pay campaign

Higher education conference backs campaign for 5% or £1,000 pay rise

UNISON launched a national pay campaign for higher education workers today, when the union’s higher ed service group conference called for a pay claim for 5% or £1,000, whichever is the greater, to apply to all salary pay points on the national payscale.

Members will be engaged around the campaign slogan: “Invest in my university; invest in me.”

Conference delegates also agreed to:

  • work with organisations such as the Living Wage Foundation to encourage universities to become accredited living wage employers;
  • reduce the use of zero hours contracts across the sector;
  • raise the pay campaign with MPs, Welsh Assembly Members and Scottish MSPs, other parts of UNISON and sympathetic organisations, including the National Union of Students.

UNISON will also co-ordinate with the other four unions in the sector. Conference recognised that the final claim submitted to employers would be a joint claim of the five unions.

Noting that the average wage of a university vice chancellor was £275,000 a year in 2014-15, service group executive chair Denise Ward asked: “How can it be right that, in one institution, one person can be paid so much while others struggle to make ends meet and [need to] take two or three jobs?”

Delegates called for a planned campaign of lawful industrial action within the union’s rules, if it proved necessary.

They agreed to begin work as soon as they returned to their branches and workplaces, building members’ confidence and involvement in the campaign.