Given the democratic support from the Students’ Union, the eve of the next round of strike action is a good time to remind everyone that UCU have the full support of the UNISON branch.
Our members also voted overwhelmingly for strike action, but the national turnout was not sufficient for UNISON to call its members out on strike. If our ballot had been done on a disaggregate basis, we’d be striking as well, since we achieved a 78.1% strike vote on a 51.4% turnout.
This is not because we want to be difficult or disrupt the life of the University, but because the alternative is to accept yet another year of real-terms pay cuts.
In response to the Vice Chancellor’s message to staff, it is true that we have received this year’s pay award, which was worth up to 3.5% for some, but the vast majority of the University’s workforce have received 1.8% or close to it, significantly below anyone’s measure of inflation. In reality, the pay uplift imposed on us all, “so that colleagues did not lose out financially”, was a pay cut.
It’s been the same story for many years, and so we salute the bravery and determination of all those UCU members carrying out their democratic decision to do something about it.
We appreciate that this is a national dispute, but like UCU, we call on the University’s leadership to appeal to UCEA to settle the dispute with an appropriate offer, and we are happy to jointly campaign for more funding for higher education if that’s what’s necessary. It’s not in anyone’s interests for the University to experience financial problems, but these problems will not be solved by driving down our pay. That’s what this government wants, not what we should be campaigning for.
If you’re a UNISON member you can show your support for the strikers by:
• Visiting the picket lines in your own time, talking to pickets, buying then a warm drink.
• Making sure you’re not carrying out work which someone on strike would normally do
• Contributing to the strike hardship fund used to alleviate hardship for those least able to manage a significant loss in income.
This dispute affects us all, because it’s about the ability of staff and students to collectively prevent the effects of marketisation and a race to the bottom. We all want a properly rewarded workforce delivering university services. UCU members are showing the way to achieving that goal. They have our full support.