Low pay and pensions issues prompt further strikes at universities, says UNISON

The importance of university staff during the pandemic cannot be overstated.

UNISON members hold placards on a picket line outside Francis Close Hall at the University of Gloucestershire.

Staff will take further strike days at eight universities over pay and pensions issues from this week, UNISON says.

Action is to take place during the next three weeks at Birkbeck, SOAS, City, King’s College London (all University of London), Brighton University, Gloucestershire University, Edinburgh Napier University and Leeds University.

Staff at each of the institutions have voted to strike over a pay offer of 1.5%. In addition, at two of the universities workers are also taking industrial action over changes to their pension, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

This is the second round of strikes at each of the universities, following a series of dates in February and earlier this month.

UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “University staff provide vital services, but they’ve seen the value of their pay plummet over the past few years.

“They’re also dealing the cost-of-living crisis. It’s crucial employers treat staff fairly and make them a decent pay offer.

“The importance of university staff during the pandemic cannot be overstated, quickly enabling students to learn remotely and providing welfare support throughout.

“They mustn’t be taken for granted. An above-inflation wage rise is needed to persuade them not to leave for better-paid jobs.

“Staff also deserve a pension scheme that provides a decent retirement. Employers must think again.”