14 October 2013
University workers in Unite join Unison and UCU members in voting for strikes:
University staff vote ‘yes’ for strike action
Unite members working in universities across the UK have voted ‘yes’ to strike action to end a five year pay drought that has seen their real pay shrink by 13 per cent.
Unite, the country’s biggest union, will now meet to discuss next steps with other higher education unions following the strong mandate for industrial action it and the UCU received.
Today’s ballot result shows that 64 per cent of Unite members have voted in favour of strike action, rejecting the employer’s one per cent pay offer, on a 28.2 per cent turn out.
Unite is urging the Universities and College Employers Association (UCEA) to return to the negotiating table with a vastly improved offer – a substantial pay rise is needed to ensure the retention of dedicated staff to keep Britain in the top 10 world university league.
Unite national officer for education Mike McCartney said: “The employers can no longer ignore the pleas of its workforce. For five years they have struggled with a real terms pay cut that has led to a thirteen per cent erosion in their take home pay.
“This year’s miserly one per cent pay offer was a step too far. Our members have spoken; it is now up to the employers to come back to the table with a vastly improved offer.
“On one hand, you have highly paid vice-chancellors travelling the world extolling the virtues of Britain’s universities and drumming up overseas students and foreign funding, yet the staff that keep Britain in the top 10 of the world’s universities face reduced incomes.
“Unite is ready to talk, but we urge the employers to take the concerns of our members seriously.
The ballot closed today, Monday 14 October 2013. To the question: Are you prepared to take part in strike action? The results were as follows on a 28.2 per cent turnout:
- 2575 votes were cast
- 654 voted YES
- 916 voted NO
- 5 spoiled ballot papers
Unite’s membership embraces technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities’ management staff. The union has about 20,000 members in higher education.