Administrators, cleaners, library, security and catering employees are among staff at Manchester Metropolitan and Liverpool Hope universities taking strike action today (Tuesday) in a dispute over pay.
The workers, among the lowest paid in the higher education sector, walked out after rejecting a 3% pay award from the University and Colleges Employers Association.
Staff had asked for a pay increase 2% above the rate of inflation, which currently stands at 9.9%.
With further rises in the cost of living expected, the award effectively represents a pay cut, the union says.
UNISON North West higher education lead Andy Rutherford said: “Low pay has been a massive, and growing, problem in the university sector for upwards of a decade.
“Staff have become expert at stretching their pay to make ends meet. But the shock of the cost-of-living crisis has pushed many to breaking point, with no end in sight and problems likely to get worse.
“It’s always a very difficult decision to strike but staff feel they’ve been left with no choice. A 3% pay award is nowhere near enough and the employers know it. This ludicrously low increase does nothing to ease the financial pressures for thousands of struggling staff.
“Neither of these universities has come to the table to improve the offer or find a sensible way forward. If they don’t put people before profits and pay staff proper, fair wages employees will vote with their feet and leave universities for better paid, less stressful jobs elsewhere.”
Notes to editors:
– Staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will also strike again tomorrow (Wednesday 5 October). Liverpool Hope University workers will walk out again next week (on Tuesday 11 and Thursday 13 October).
– 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.