Possibility of further UCU strikes over pay row

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Universities and College Union (UCU) is to ballot its higher education members for industrial action later this year as part of a dispute over staff pay.

This announcement comes as 82 per cent rejected the latest pay offer of 2 per cent from the Universities and Colleges' Employers Association (UCEA) at the last joint negotiating meeting in May.

65 per cent [of UCU members] said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend their pay

Of the 47.7 per cent turnout, 65 per cent said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend their pay. A ballot will open in August and close in October 2018 to determine whether the union will go on strike.

UCU said UCEA's offer does nothing to address the falling value of higher education pay, which has declined in real terms by 21 per cent since 2010. It argues that universities, whom the Union beieves could afford to pay more, are prioritising capital expenditure over staff.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Staff working in our universities have had enough of seeing their wages held down while institutions prioritise capital spending and building reserves. The employers' below-inflation pay offer does nothing to address years of decline in the value of higher education pay so we now have little option but to ballot for strike action.

'Universities would do well to listen to their students and make investment in staff a top priority. That means a decent pay offer and concrete commitments to tackle problems with gender pay and insecure employment.'

'The employers' below-inflation pay offer does nothing to address years of decline in the value of higher education pay so we now have little option but to ballot for strike action.' - UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt

Earlier this year, UCU members went on strike over a change to the USS Pension Scheme, which UUK argued needing revising due to it being in a deficit. UCU argued that the removal of the guaranteed 'defined benefit' scheme would see some members lose up to £10,000 from their pensions.

In a ballot, which received a record turnout of 63.5 per cent, 64 per cent of union members voted in favour of the new deal and only 36 per cent voted against.

Featured Image: Epigram / Evy Tang


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Ed Southgate

Co-Editor in Chief 2018-2019 | Editor of Epigram Comment 2017-2018 | Third Year English student | Email: editor@epigram.org.uk | Twitter: @ed_southgate

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