Unite members working in universities across the UK have voted ‘yes’ to strike action to end a five year pay drought that has seen their real pay shrink by 13 per cent.
Unite, the country’s biggest union, will now meet to discuss next steps with other higher education unions following the strong mandate for industrial action it and the UCU received.
Today’s ballot result shows that 64 per cent of Unite members have voted in favour of strike action, rejecting the employer’s one per cent pay offer, on a 28.2 per cent turn out.
Unite is urging the Universities and College Employers Association (UCEA) to return to the negotiating table with a vastly improved offer – a substantial pay rise is needed to ensure the retention of dedicated staff to keep Britain in the top 10 world university league.
Unite national officer for education Mike McCartney said: “The employers can no longer ignore the pleas of its workforce. For five years they have struggled with a real terms pay cut that has led to a thirteen per cent erosion in their take home pay.
“This year’s miserly one per cent pay offer was a step too far. Our members have spoken; it is now up to the employers to come back to the table with a vastly improved offer.
“On one hand, you have highly paid vice-chancellors travelling the world extolling the virtues of Britain’s universities and drumming up overseas students and foreign funding, yet the staff that keep Britain in the top 10 of the world’s universities face reduced incomes.
“Unite is ready to talk, but we urge the employers to take the concerns of our members seriously.
The ballot closed today, Monday 14 October 2013. To the question: Are you prepared to take part in strike action? The results were as follows on a 28.2 per cent turnout:
- 2575 votes were cast
- 1654 voted YES
- 916 voted NO
- 5 spoiled ballot papers
Unite’s membership embraces technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities’ management staff. The union has about 20,000 members in higher education.
For further information, please contact Unite communications officer, Chantal Chegrinec on 07768 693940
More details, including the letter sent to members in the sector, can be found here
Higher Education Statistical Agency figures reveal the following statistics (February 2013):
• Managerial, professional, technical staff: 88,605 in the UK. In this staff group 12.5 per cent earn less than £23,121 and 39 per cent earn less than £31,020
• Clerical staff: 71,130 in the UK. In this staff group 57 per cent earn less than £23,121 and 91 per cent earn less than £31,020
• Manual staff: 40,875 in the UK. In this staff group 64 per cent earn less than £17,329; 87.7 per cent earn less than £23,121 and 97 per cent earn less than £31,020.
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.