Higher education staff in the South West will walk out this week in a new wave of strikes over inadequate pay, says UNISON today (Thursday).
Administrators, cleaners, library, security and catering workers – many of them among the lowest paid in the university sector – are among those taking industrial action.
The employees are after a fair pay rise to help them cope with soaring prices. This follows several years where wages have failed to keep pace with inflation, the union says.
Staff at Bath Spa University, University of Bristol and University of the West of England are on their second wave of industrial action this term while the University of Gloucestershire is taking it’s first round of action. There has already been disruption at universities across England and Scotland with a series of strikes in September and October over wages.
The university support staff rejected a 3% pay rise from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association back in May.
With the lowest measure of inflation currently 11.1%, the rise in living costs is three times greater than the workers’ pay increase. This amounts to a substantial cut, leaving staff out of pocket and struggling, UNISON says.
UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said: “Low pay has been a massive, and growing, problem in the university sector for more than a decade.
“The cost of living crisis is pushing people to the brink. University support staff can’t even cover the basics. They’ve had enough and are quitting the sector for jobs on better pay.
“Going on strike is always a last resort, but the inadequate pay workers have been given this year is the final straw.
“The universities should do the right thing and come back with more money to show they care about their employees. This would help keep them in their posts so students can receive the support they need and have the best possible experience of university.”
Strikes are due to take place at:
- Bath Spa University: Thursday 24 November
- University of Bristol: Thursday 24 and Wednesday 30 November
- University of the West of England: Thursday 24, Friday 25, Wednesday 30 November
- University of Gloucestershire: Thursday 24, Friday 25, Wednesday 30 November