Education & Family

University staff to stage one-day strike over pay

Image caption The unions say staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay

University staff are to stage a one-day national strike at the end of this month in a row over pay.

Institutions across the UK are expected to be affected by the action, taken by three unions - the University and College Union (UCU), Unison and Unite.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which represents universities as employers, said it was disappointed by the move.

The news comes as teachers plan a strike in parts of England on Thursday.

Members of the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT are staging a further regional strike in their continuing row over pay, pensions and workload.

The unions planning the university strike for 31 October claim a 1% pay rise offered to staff - including lecturers, technicians and administration workers - means there has been a 13% pay cut in real terms since October 2008.

For Unite, the turnout for the ballot was 28% and of these, 64% (1,654 members) voted in favour of action. For the UCU the turnout was 35%, with 62% voting in favour of strike action.

Unison declined to release details of what percentage of its membership had voted. It only said of those who had voted, 54.4% had been in favour of action and 45.6% against.

'Enough is enough'

UCU head of higher education Michael MacNeil said: "Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay. Quite simply, enough is enough.

"We urge the employers to reflect on the fact that they are about to face their first ever strike by three unions at the same time and come to the negotiating table to resolve this dispute.

"The suppression of academic pay is one of the most sustained pay cuts since World War II and, while strike action is always a last resort, the fact that staff are prepared to take this step demonstrates just how angry they are."

A spokesman for UCEA said: "Employers do understand that the general 1% uplift offered to all may be frustrating to these trade unions, with 5% of the workforce saying they will support strike action.

"However, we also know that much more than this is going into pay increases for HEI [higher education institution] staff: 3% incremental rises for many plus merit payments beyond this.

"Our HEIs tell us that the vast majority of their staff understand the reality of the current environment and would not want to take action that could harm their institutions and their students."

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