After two more days of striking, Unison hopes to reach a decision with the University soon.
Strike action by University support staff continued over Monday 3 October and Tuesday 4 October outside of University of Glasgow’s Main Building. The strikes are the second of two consecutive days of strikes by Unison, the first being over 20 September and 21 September.
The Tuesday strike included a rally held in the rain, with strike stewards leading speeches and inviting picketers up to the megaphone to speak their support. The staff are striking due to pay increases that have not risen with inflation, ultimately leading to a cost of living pay cut for staff members and an increase in workload due to the larger number of students at University of Glasgow, and inadequate resources.
Sally Baxter, the co-union branch secretary, said that the next steps for Unison will be the weekly negotiation meetings that are scheduled with the University. Currently, the Union is waiting for a response from their proposal.
“Our overall pay grade schedule has not been fully reviewed or updated in quite some time and, to be fair, I think both the university and trade unions feel that now is the time to be looking at it,” Baxter said. “So we’re anticipating that longer regrading structure will be a more substantial process, but we hope to come to a positive and quick way forward for the current cost of living crisis, so that initial 2022-23 year.”
Baxter said solidarity from student groups on campus is very important to them, and they appreciate the support, especially as closed campus buildings can be an inconvenience to students.
Student organizations including Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) voiced their support of the strikes, which included staff from UofG Sports who run the Stevenson Gym and Garscube Sports Complex, on Instagram.
“At GUSA we believe that it is important for students to understand the reasoning for the industrial action which is due to take place, and we deeply encourage students to engage with the context and discussion around this,” GUSA wrote in their instagram post on 3 October.
Ex-rector at University of Glasgow Aamer Anwar sent a letter of support to the strikers, where he stated his anger with the university for refusing to respond to the proposal for pay raises during this cost of living crisis.
“The words I said on becoming Rector in 2017 are even more relevant today, whilst I welcomed the billion pounds building project that would take this University into the 21st century, I said that such buildings must never be at the expense of students or staff,” Anwar wrote. “It is the students and staff that gave this University its heart and soul, its reputation and history.”
Baxter joined Unison in 2011, when she started at the university, and joined the committee about a year and a half ago. For Baxter, going on strike is a way to ensure concerns that the union is raising are not being ignored.
“You go on strike because you feel you have no other option, to ensure that the concerns you are raising are not falling on deaf ears,” she added, as cheers erupted from the strikers as a car driving by honked its horn in support. “Sometimes, this is what it takes.”