Autumn term strikes set to go ahead at four South West universities

HE members have suffered a real-terms pay cut of around 25% over the last 14 years, due to year on year rises that were below inflation.

UNISON members on the picket line outside Arts University Bournemouth. Members hold purple flags and placards aloft against a beautiful blue sky.

The results are in for the higher education strike ballot that ran from 31 May to 31 July – and 4 higher education institutions in the South West have met the threshold for action.

The current offer from the University and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA), a 5-8% pay rise depending on salary spinal point, equates to a real-terms pay cut given inflation was over 10% this year.

Although some money was backdated to earlier this year, it’s still not enough for staff to live on with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

HE members have suffered a real-terms pay cut of around 25% over the last 14 years, due to year on year uplifts that were below inflation

The 4 universities in the South West that have met the threshold for action are: University of Gloucestershire, University of the West of England, Plymouth Marjon University and Arts University Bournemouth.

9 universities elsewhere have also met the threshold: University of Dundee, Leeds Trinity University, University of Brighton, Glasgow School of Art, Solent University, University of Glasgow, City University, Glasgow Caledonian University and University of Chichester.

Further details on strike action will be announced in due course.

More information is available here

UNISON senior national officer Ruth Smith said: “Our members have spoken. It is clear that they feel very strongly about UCEA’s failure to offer them a pay rise this year which makes up for 14 years of erosion of the value of their pay.

“Jobs in higher education used to be seen as reasonably well-paid and secure. By paying tiny increases year on year for all this time, the employers, and successive governments as their funders, have turned them into poorly paid jobs, where our members struggle to make ends meet and feel like they are marginalised and under-valued.

“Our members, who include cleaners, caterers, domestic staff, security staff, library staff and administrators, are the bedrock of the higher education system that half of the nation’s young people rely on for their next step into the adult world after school.

“Our members look after those young people, and ensure they have a good experience. It is time the employers looked after our members in return, before they vote with their feet.

“UCEA have had a rocky year as a result of industrial action across the sector. Our results indicate that is going to continue to be the case as the autumn term starts off with more staff expressing their unhappiness by taking strike action, unless they come back to us with more on pay now.”