Support staff at 20 universities in England and Scotland are to stage coordinated strike action for at least two days in their ongoing dispute about pay, says UNISON today (Thursday).
More than 5,000 staff belonging to the union could take part as they escalate their demands for a fair wage rise after many years of below-inflation increases.
In England, 16 universities will walk out on Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 October. A series of strikes will take place in Scotland later this month at four institutions – Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow School of Art, University of Dundee and University of Glasgow. This includes a strike involving all four on Wednesday 20 September.
The new strike dates coincide with the start of term and follow industrial action at a number of universities earlier this year.
Staff voted to reject a pay offer for 2023/24 – worth between 5% and 8% but well below the rate of inflation at the time – in a consultation conducted by UNISON earlier this year. In a union ballot that ended in July, workers at these 20 higher education institutions backed further strikes.
The university workers represented by UNISON include cleaners, IT technicians, administrators, library staff and others supporting student learning.
UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “Support staff play a crucial role helping students through university, but they’ve endured years of real-terms pay cuts.
“Many can’t support themselves as prices of food, fuel and household bills continue to rise. Some are having to leave for better-paid jobs elsewhere and that risks leaving millions of students facing a worsening university experience. Universities must improve wages.”
Notes to editors:
- Strike action will take place at the following universities in England on 2 and 3 October (with additional dates in brackets at a number of these): Arts University Bournemouth; City, University of London (26-28 September); Leeds Trinity University; Liverpool Hope University; Plymouth Marjon University; SOAS, University of London (25-27 September); Solent University; University of Bedfordshire (4 October); University of Brighton; University of Chichester; University of Gloucestershire; University of Leeds; University of Liverpool; University of Sussex; University of the West of England (14, 15, 18 September); University of Winchester.
- Strike action will take place at the following universities in Scotland: the University of Dundee (18-22 September); University of Glasgow (19-20 and 26-28 September); Glasgow Caledonian University (18-21 September) and Glasgow School of Art (20, 27, 28 September).
- The Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association made a pay offer for 2023/24 in January, with increases of 5-8% depending on individual workers’ salaries. This was then given to staff, with the first payments made from February. When put to UNISON members, 82% voted to reject this pay rise.