Cleaners, administrators, library, catering and security workers at Bath Spa University, University of Bristol, University of Gloucestershire and the University of the West of England have voted to strike in a dispute over pay.
The workers, some of the lowest paid in the higher education sector, will walk out after rejecting a 3% pay award from the University and Colleges Employers Association in May, the union says. Staff had asked for a pay increase 2% above the rate of inflation,
With inflation topping 10% and further increases on the way, the award effectively represents a pay cut, the union says. The increase won’t touch the sides of the cost-of-living pressures decimating household budgets, says UNISON.
Staff in four universities in the South West will join more than 20 universities across the UK to stage a series of strikes later in the year.
UNISON South West regional organiser, Chris Roche said: “Low pay has been a massive problem for the university sector for over 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.
“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.
“University managers must put people before profits and pay staff proper, fair wages. If they don’t, employees will vote with their feet and leave universities for better paid, less stressful jobs.”