Staff at Arts University Bournemouth, including cleaners, security workers, administrators and librarians, are set to take part in a day of strike action today, Tuesday, over a long-running pay dispute.
Employees are angry that despite rejecting the 1.5% pay offer made last August, managers have ignored staff protests and imposed the increase. Even with this increase, low-paid employees are still taking home less than £18,000 a year.
Years of under-investment in higher education, coupled with wage freezes, have kept staff pay artificially low, says the union. Workers want an across-the-board £1,250 increase to help them cope with soaring prices and inflation.
Staff were barely making ends meet even before the shock of the cost-of-living crisis, UNISON says. Now with prices rocketing, they cannot afford to accept a pay offer that’s already been wiped out by inflation, the union adds.
Preeti Sood, technician demonstrator and UNISON rep said:
“Going on strike is not an easy decision to make but we have had twelve years of pay cuts in real terms. My colleagues and I are struggling to make ends meet. We feel we have no other option but to fight for better and fair pay. We are calling on management to offer us a fair deal, enough is enough.
UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said:
“Arts University Bournemouth staff have been left with no other choice but to take strike action. Despite their tireless efforts to ensure students receive a high-quality education, they have faced years of declining real wages.
“Enough is enough. University employees simply can’t afford to live on poverty wages or accept woeful, insulting pay offers. It’s time for university managers to make a fair offer that provides a living wage to all staff.”
There will be two picket lines outside Arts University Bournemouth between 8am – 1pm. One will be at the main entrance via Fern Barrow Road and the second will be by the pedestrian entrance by the University bus stop.