University staff stage walkouts after ‘low ball’ pay offer
University strikes by UCU union members have taken place today after staff voted overwhelmingly to reject a “low ball” pay offer.
Over 70,000 staff at 150 universities across the UK will down tools on Thursday and Friday after 80% of UCU members voted against a 5% offer.
The National Union of Students (NUS) is backing staff taking the strike action, which will impact 2.5 million students.
UCU said university bosses are “in hiding” and need to engage properly in negations if they want to stop a further 15 days of strike action from going ahead over the next two months.
Staff will be picketing all 150 universities across the UK on both days of strike action.
Despite staff emphatically rejecting the 5% pay award, employers have not yet responded with an improved offer.
University employers have been accused of failing to address insecure employment practices and workloads with over 90,000 university staff on insecure contracts.
In the pension dispute, UCU is demanding employers revoke the cuts and restore benefits.
The package of cuts made last year will see the average member lose 35% of their guaranteed future retirement income.
For those at the beginning of their career the losses are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Orla Tarn, NUS Wales President, said: “Students in Wales stand in solidarity with the 70,000 academic staff and post-graduate research students striking across the UK today.
“We’re disappointed that students will once again be missing out on valuable teaching time but we believe everyone deserves fair pay and work conditions.
“Staff teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions and together we will fight for a fairer, healthier education system for everyone who works and studies.
“Universities and employers must come to the table and take meaningful action to end these disputes. We need an education system that is sustainable and this can’t happen while profits are put first.”
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