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UNISON members set for four days of strike action

UNISON members at the University of Bristol have announced four days of strike action for July and August.

Image Courtesy - Milan Perera

By Will Standring, News Editor

UNISON members at the University of Bristol have announced four days of strike action for July and August.

Walkouts are set to take place on Monday 31st July, Tuesday 1st August, Wednesday 2nd August and Thursday 3rd August as part of UNISON’s ongoing pay dispute with the university.

UNISON, which represents the University’s professional services staff, commenced industrial action in September 2022 after rejecting a 3% pay award in May of that year.

UNISON and UCU joint protest - Milan Perera

UNISON has rejected the University's recent offer of five to eight per cent pay rise but demanded that any proposed pay rise should be in line with the current inflation rate of 11.4 per cent.

Most recently, UNISON staff walked out from Thursday 15th June to Monday 19th June.

UNISON membership features some of the University's lowest paid staff including cleaners, administrators, library, catering and security workers.

Speaking exclusively to Epigram, UNISON representative and library assistant at Arts and Social Sciences Library, Mia Smith, said:

'Bristol University has proven again and again that it cares more about its profit than its people - not just academic staff, but professional services staff too, especially young employees.
I'm striking because I went to this university, and in return this university used me for cheap labour.
As a precarious intern, I wasn't even on our pay scale.
I would walk home from work because I couldn't afford the bus; I'd get home and couldn't afford to put the heating on either.
Inflation continues to rise, house prices continue to rise, food prices continue to rise, yet our wages don't.'

When contacted for comment by Epigram, a University of Bristol spokesperson said:

'We are very sorry to see colleagues represented by UNISON taking part in industrial action later this month but, at the same time, we respect the rights of our staff to act where they feel strongly about issues which affect them. We are one of only nine universities affected by this action.

'We remain committed to continuing discussions. The University is part of national HE collective bargaining which covers 145 Universities so we cannot unilaterally change the pay award of between 5-8%– agreed for the 23/24 academic year, therefore we need to find better ways of resolving this dispute nationally.'