Strikes at universities and colleges next week
- Published on Friday, 29 November 2013 10:18
- Written by Daniel Mason
Universities and colleges will be hit with the most widespread disruption for years on Tuesday as staff walk out in a row over pay.
Classes will be cancelled in further education colleges and universities as members of four trade unions take strike action. They are angry that, as the cost of living has risen, lecturers' pay has been slashed in real terms since 2009.
University staff in UK universities first walked out on 31 October when members of the University and College Union (UCU), Unison and Unite took strike action. On Tuesday they will be joined by their colleagues in the EIS trade union in Scotland. Meanwhile lecturers at further education colleges in England will be taking their first day of strike action, also in a row over pay.
Staff in universities were offered just a 1% pay rise this year, despite their pay plummeting by 13% in real terms in last four years. Lecturers in further education colleges in England fared even worse when employers offered them just 0.7% to try and compensate for the fact their pay has been cut by 15% in real terms since 2009.
UCU said it was disappointed that talks with the university employers this week failed to bring about any resolution to that dispute. The employers refused to improve the 1% offer that staff rejected and which prompted the strike action. Talks between the union and representatives from further education colleges are scheduled for Monday.
Staff will be on picket lines in towns and cities across the UK from early in the morning, with many then making their way to local rallies in their area. More details on regional activity can be found here.
UCU head of bargaining, Michael MacNeil, said: "Staff in universities and colleges are taking strike action to say enough is enough. They have seen their pay slashed in real terms since 2009 and this year's miserly pay offer, at a time of rising bills, was the straw that broke the camel's back.
"Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted. Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day's pay, but we feel we have been left with no alternative."