More strike action over pay offer at Scottish universities

Picket at RGU
Image caption Staff are on picket lines, including at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University

A pay dispute is set to cause further disruption at Scottish universities as staff stage industrial action.

Four unions representing academics and other workers are taking part in a one-day strike. It follows a similar walk-out in October.

Most universities said they would do their best to keep the impact to a minimum but the University of the West of Scotland will shut.

The protest centres on a 1% pay offer for lecturers and administrative staff.

'Last resort'

Unions said employees had faced a "real-terms pay cut" of 13% since 2008.

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.

The UCU, Unite and Unison unions were involved in the October strike and have now been joined by the EIS.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said strike action was always the last resort for any trade union.

But he added: "The employers do not seem to understand the effect that four years of sub-inflationary pay rises have on their staff.

"Members literally cannot afford to go on like this, and that is why we have joined our three sister unions and colleagues in taking concerted action to pursue our claim for fair pay."

UCU Scotland president Dave Anderson, said: "Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted. Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day's pay, but we feel we have been left with no alternative."

Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said the organisation strongly backed higher education union members in their request for a "reasonable pay rise".

'Generous offer'

Pay and conditions are set at a UK-wide level - not by the individual universities.

The UCEA 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."

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