Failure to reach agreement on pay could lead to disruptive strike action

Unite has confirmed that its members employed in a number of universities across Scotland will be balloted for strike action following the failure to reach agreement on the 2023/24 pay award. The vast majority of Unite members have instead had an award of 5-6% imposed on them.  This follows a previous derisory uplift of 3% for the majority of members last year and many years of sub inflation pay increases. The universities taking part in the action are: Aberdeen, Heriot Watt, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian, Glasgow School of Art, Dundee, Abertay, Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University.

This dispute is part of a national Higher Education pay dispute, the ballot in Scotland will run from 17 July and close on 21 August. There was also a failure to reach agreement on the sub inflation 2022/23 award which resulted in Unite members taking part in strike action last year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The UCEA (University and Colleges Employers Association) has consistently failed to negotiate an improvement on the offer and this protracted dispute is the outcome of their inertia in reaching a settlement. This is impacting not only workers, but the tens of thousands of students that have been left in the lurch waiting for exam results. University workers went above and beyond during Covid 19 and this is how they are repaid. Unite will stand 100 per cent behind our members for as long as it takes to reach a fair settlement.

Unite regional officer Alison Maclean said: “This latest imposition is a further slap in the face for our members across Scotland’s universities when UCEA can clearly afford to pay more. Other unions in the sector are also planning action, so the employers need to take seriously the very real possibility of co-ordinated strikes taking place at the start of Semester One in Scotland.  The fault for this lies entirely at UCEA’s door.  Unite calls on UCEA to get back to the negotiating table, our members and all university students deserve so much more.”