Scottish University staff stage one-day strike

Aberdeen University staff on a picket line Staff have been manning picket lines outside Scottish universities, including Aberdeen

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University lectures across Scotland have been cancelled as staff stage a one-day walkout in a row over pay.

Picket lines formed outside university buildings in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee in protest at a 1% pay offer for lecturers and administrative workers.

UCU, Unite and Unison unions said employees had faced a "real-terms pay cut" of 13% since 2008.

University employers said the strike was having "minimal impact".

But the unions said universities were facing the "most widespread disruption for years".

Mary Senior, UCU's Scottish official, said there had been a good turn-out at the picket line at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

She said: "We're very upbeat, we've been explaining to people why we are out today and people have been signing our petition.

"Lectures have been cancelled and the library in Glasgow is closed, so the action is having an effect.

"We want the employers to come back to the negotiating table and make a better offer."

Protests were also organised at Stirling and St Andrews.

Union members were also expected to take part in rallies later.

'Taken for granted'

Ms Senior said: "This year's miserly 1% pay offer, at a time of rising bills and increased pension contributions, was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted."

There was a 35% turnout of union members in the UCU strike ballot, with 62% voting in favour of strike action.

However, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) said the vast majority of staff understood the current financial situation and did not support the action.

It said that, according to the latest figures, only 7.8% of the 378,250 people working in the sector took part in the vote for strike action.

And it said less than 5% of the higher education workforce had chosen to vote for strike action.

A spokesperson added: "These pay increases will be seen as generous by many looking into the sector.

"HE [Higher Education] employers value their staff and provide a good reward package to attract and retain outstanding staff.

"Pay in HE is keeping pace with comparable sectors and institutions are not experiencing recruitment or retention problems."

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