Credit: Gordon Terris, Newsquest

Five day workers walkout welcomes students to new academic term

Support staff set to strike after the University fails to reach an agreement on a 2023/24 pay rise.

On 29 August, Unite the Union confirmed that around 1,000 members employed in four universities and four colleges across Scotland are set to take strike action during the first weeks of the new academic term.

Plans for a five-day walkout were confirmed after the trade union received industrial action mandates from its members at the University of Glasgow, Dundee University, Abertay University, Edinburgh Napier University and Strathclyde University.

The news follows similar strikes held at Universities across the country, including Glasgow, by Unison and the University College Union.

Amidst the pay dispute, technicians, cleaners, security officers, and janitors alike will go on strike from 13-15 September and 18-19 September. No date, as yet, has been announced for Edinburgh Napier, where Unite also has a mandate for strike action. Workers in Ayrshire College, Dumfries and Galloway College, West College Scotland, and New College Lanarkshire will take strike action on 7 September, followed by further days of strike action varying across the colleges.

Unite said the majority of members had a five to six per cent pay offer “imposed on them” after a “derisory” three per cent uplift in 2022. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The UCEA (University and Colleges Employers Association) has not only failed to put a fair wage offer on the table, it is attempting to impose a real terms pay cut on all university workers which is totally unacceptable.”

“Any disruption to students will be on the heads of those running the pay bodies, colleges and universities, who incidentally are not suffering any cost-of-living crisis. Unite will fully support our higher and further education members in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Unite’s University of Glasgow branch told The Glasgow Guardian: “Our members took the decision to strike following the imposition of another real-terms pay cut by the national employer’s body UCEA – University staff are all now around 20% worse off than they were in 2010. 

“However, no strike dates are unavoidable. If a legitimate and reasonable offer is tabled, we will absolutely take it to the membership and be guided by them. This is not an action Unite take lightly, and is the last resort to try and reopen pay negotiations at a national level. We regret that UCEA’s unwillingness to pay staff properly has forced more disruption to our members, our employer, and our students. They have the power to settle the dispute and it is up to them whether or not they choose to use it.” The current dispute is part of a UK-wide higher education dispute over pay and conditions.

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