Glasgow University staff set to strike in escalating pay row

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Nathan Stilwell
News Editor

Staff at the University are due to strike on Thursday 16 June as part of the latest wave of UK-wide industrial action the ongoing row over pay. The strike will hit on an open day and staff will be on picket lines as well as lobbying parents and students to talk to them about their fight for fair pay and better conditions.

The University and College Union (UCU) has also called for universities to commit to closing the gender gap and zero-hour contracts.

As well as walking out last month, UCU members in branches all across Scotland have started working to contract, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work, or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

In response to the strike action in May, Principal and Vice Chancellor Anton Muscatelli sent an email to all students, saying: “The University of Glasgow has been notified by the University and College Union (UCU) that its members have been called to take part in a two-day national strike on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May 2016 in support of its national dispute over pay.It is extremely unfortunate that the union has chosen to take this action and I have written to staff members asking them to consider carefully before deciding whether or not to participate.I wanted to reassure you that the University will operate as normal across both of these days, and that we will do all that we can to ensure that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.”

The union has also called on external examiners to resign their positions on exam boards; a move which will disrupt marking this summer when boards meet to discuss challenged marks. External examiners are a crucial part of quality assurance in universities, as each course requires an external examiner to ensure that an institution’s assessment is fair and comparable with others.

UCU Scotland official, Mary Senior, said: “UCU members are taking part in targeted strike action this week because they have had enough of their pay being held down, while a few at the top continue to be paid handsomely. These three strike days are the first in a series of strikes by local branches that will hit universities across Scotland throughout the summer.  The very last thing university staff want to do is take strike action but they’ve been left with no alternative but to escalate their industrial action after universities refused to come back to the negotiating table with a fair offer.”

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “The University of Glasgow is disappointed at the decision by the University and College Union to call on its members to take part in strike action on Thursday 16 June. We have written to colleagues asking them to consider carefully before deciding whether or not to participate in the action, and we will do all that we can to ensure that any disruption for staff and students is kept to an absolute minimum.”


Edinburgh University and the University of West Scotland are also set to join the strike action.