Friday, 28 February 2014

Senate House Strikes: We are Worth More than 1%

On 6th February UNISON members took a third day of strike action in the ongoing pay dispute, joining UCU, Unite and EIS. Our members are not satisfied with the 1% pay rise forced on them and continue to ask for a pay settlement that reflects their value and hard work.

The 1% pay offer is fundamentally still inadequate in the face of a fifth year of pay cuts. Pay has fallen in real terms by over 13%, UNISON members and higher education staff across the country are fed up by the double standards and hypocrisy of senior management in universities. Staff are seeing their terms and conditions eroding and their sense of job insecurity increasing. Working conditions are failing to improve with a greater use of zero hours contracts and an increase in the gender pay gap, as well as a reduction in in-house services and an increase in outsourcing.

Universities insist that institutions can’t afford to spend money and need to keep a surplus to fund capital spending rather than investing in the welfare of their staff. Yet they hold huge cash reserves and university finances have been described by the Higher Education Funding Council as being “sound overall”.

University of London staff went on strike on 6th February to highlight this inequality and to continue to put pressure on negotiations. Despite the tube strike causing transport difficulties for many members, UNISON joined UCU at picket lines. The success of the strike overall remains similar to the first two days of strike action in 2013. Please continue to discuss the reasons for the pay dispute with your colleagues and support the efforts of UNISON in negotiating for higher pay. #fairpayinHE

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