Unite members working in universities across the UK will be balloted for industrial action over their employers’ 1.1 per cent pay insult.
The ballot of around 9,000 members opens today (Tuesday 30 August) and closes on Wednesday 21 September.
Unite, the country’s biggest union, has said that years of below inflation pay rises have seen staff pay shrink by up to 16 per cent since 2012, while university heads and senior managers have enjoyed bumper pay hikes of around 5.1 per cent on average.
Unite is urging the employers to get back around the table to negotiate an improved pay offer to avert potential strike action causing mass disruption to students at the start of the new autumn term.
Unite is also calling for action on the gender pay gap and increasing use of zero hour contracts in the sector.
Mike McCartney, Unite national officer said: “The last thing our members want is to take strike action but after years of below inflation pay rises they have been left with no choice.
“Years of below inflation pay rises has seen staff pay shrink by between 15 and 16 per cent since 2012. The squeeze on staff salaries comes when the pay of university leaders and senior managers has increased by an average of more than five per cent, with the average pay package for vice chancellors standing at £272,000.
“The employers need to start recognising the critical role our members play in keeping the country’s biggest and best universities running. Without them things would grind to a halt.
“We are urging the employers to get back around the table to negotiate an improved pay offer; one that recognises the vital contribution our members make. We want to see an end to the blatant double standards that have allowed vice chancellors’ pay to rise four times faster than the pay for most staff.”
Unite’s membership embraces technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities management staff.
For further information please contact, Unite campaigns officer, Chantal Chegrinec on 0203 371 2063 or 07774 146 777.
Note to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.