Socialist Worker

Unions in Higher Education win industrial action ballots

by Liz Lawrence, UCU vice president (pc)
Issue No. 2375

Unions in Higher Education (HE)—UCU, UNISON and UNITE—have all won industrial action ballots over this year’s pay award. 

The employers offered 1 percent and refused to negotiate meaningfully. They declined to address other parts of the joint union claim, including the Living Wage.

HE staff have said “enough is enough”. UCU estimates its members have lost 13 percent in real terms since 2008. 

HE employers have a long-term agenda of reducing the amount of university income which goes on staff pay. Universities could afford to pay more.

UCU has made it clear to its members that sustained action will be necessary to shift the employers’ position. 

In UCU 62 percent voted for strikes on a 35 percent turnout. In Unite 64 percent voted for strikes, in Unison it was 54 percent.

This will be a significant dispute against the 1 percent pay norm.

UCU calls for strikes over pay

Further education lecturers will vote on whether to strike over pay.

Workers face a derisory 0.7 percent pay deal. 

Consultations with UCU union branches found that most wanted to reject the offer and ballot for strikes.

The Further Education Committee of the union met on Friday of last week. It voted unanimously to ballot for strikes with a recommendation to vote yes.

A yes vote could see college lecturers strike alongside university lecturers, teachers and other workers in dispute. 

UCU policy is to coordinate action with other unions “where possible”.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.