Workers at five London universities are being balloted for strike action over an ‘abysmal’ pay deal, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 8 March). 

Professional support staff, including technicians, administrators and estate staff, are being balloted at City, University of London, King’s College, the Royal College of Art, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College and University College London.

The ballot, which opened yesterday and closes on 8 April, is over the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) 1.5 per cent pay deal for 2021/22. The deal was imposed last August and is the focus of a long-running dispute between Unite members and the London teaching institutions.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “With runaway inflation, the 1.5 per cent imposed on our members is an abysmal move – it’s a significant pay cut. 

“Our higher education members need a deal that boosts their take home pay and meets the extra costs of living in London. We urge these employers to return with a proper pay offer.”

If the strikes go ahead, teaching, maintenance and administration at the universities will be disrupted. 

The UCEA conducts collective pay negotiations with five higher education trade unions, including Unite, on behalf of a large number of UK colleges and universities. A pay settlement of 1.5 per cent has been imposed for 2021/22, despite all the participating unions rejecting it. 

Unite regional officer Andy Murray said: “Higher education institutions across the country are experiencing a wave of industrial action over UCEA’s completely inadequate pay deal. Our members stand in solidarity with the workers at other colleges and universities who are taking action. We urge UCL, Kings, RCA, Hollaway/Bedford and City to put forward a higher offer before this dispute escalates further.” 


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.