Unite members who work in 17 universities across the region took action on Thursday 31 October in a national dispute over a five-year pay drought.
Staff took part in the one-day strike after receiving a pay offer of just one per cent for 2013/14. In real terms, members’ have suffered a pay cut of around 13 per cent since 2008.
Unite took co-ordinated industrial action with the University and College Union (UCU) and Unison. After picketing workplaces, members took part in rallies at Conway Hall in London and outside Senate House in Cambridge.
“This is only the first in a series of days of action we have been forced to take to make the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) raise its measly one per cent pay offer,” said Unite officer Andy Murray. “We’ve had really good picketing by all three unions and support from students.
“There is no excuse for the UCEA not to give a cost-of-living pay rise. The higher education sector has built up a surplus of more than £1 billion. It’s not that they can’t pay, they won’t pay,” said Andy Murray.
UCEA refused to talk to the unions to try and divert the strike, prompting the action at the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia and Essex, as well as 14 universities in London. Unite has about 20,000 members in higher education nationally, including technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities management staff.
University staff across the UK will walk out for a second day of strike action on Tuesday 3 December.