12 November 2013
University staff announce 3 December for second date of strike actionUniversity staff across the UK will walk out for a second day of strike action on Tuesday 3 December, announced trade unions representing university staff today.
The three unions, UNISON, Unite and UCU, that took strike action on Thursday 31 October confirmed their members would walk out again in three weeks’ time and be joined by Scottish education union, the EIS, unless the dispute over pay could be resolved.
Members of the University and College have been working to contracts since Friday 1 November as part of the dispute. Yesterday UCU wrote to the employers and asked for dates for talks aimed at resolving the dispute.
Union members are angry at a 1% pay offer, which has seen their pay fall in real-terms by 13%. The squeeze on staff pay comes at a time when pay and benefits for university leaders increased, on average, by more than £5,000 in 2011-12, with the average pay and pensions package for vice-chancellors hitting almost £250,000. More on that here
UCU head of higher education, Michael MacNeil, said: ‘Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay and have made it clear that enough is enough. We remain committed to trying to resolve this dispute and the employers now have until 3 December to sit down and positively engage with the unions. If they don’t, then our members and those from our sister unions will be out on strike again, as well as continuing to work to contract.’
The first day’s strike, on 31 October, left some campuses deserted. Around the country, lectures were cancelled, libraries shut and deliveries turned away. Services such as cleaning, catering and security were also affected.
The cumulative operating surplus in the higher education sector is now over £1 billion and many higher education institutions have built up cash reserves. Overall staff costs in higher education, as a proportion of income, have fallen from 58% in 2001/02, to 55.5% in 2011/12.