10.1% pay attack for workers while Imperial has £1.7 billion reserves and paid vice chancellor record salary

More than 200 Imperial College workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, will strike on Wednesday (22 March), as industrial action over a pay dispute stretches into its fifth month. 

The workers are striking over the imposition of a 3.3 per cent pay offer for 2022/23 by London’s Imperial College, which Unite says is a clear 10.1 per cent pay cut when the real rate of inflation, RPI, is running at 13.4 per cent.  

Imperial College’s latest financial figures shows it brought in an income of over £1.2 billion for 2021/22 and had cash reserves of £1.7 billion. 

Further, Imperial College is one for the best paying universities for senior leadership staff. Until July 2022, the university employed the UK’s highest paid vice chancellor with an annual pay package worth £714,000, a massive increase of 35.5 per cent on the previous year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Imperial College has mountains of cash in its reserves but has imposed a massive pay cut in real terms on its staff. 

“It is just sheer greed, handing out record breaking salaries for those at the top while denying workers a fair pay rise during the worst cost of living crisis in living memory. 

“Unite defends our members’ jobs, pay and conditions to the hilt and Imperial College’s workforce have their union’s full support.”

The workers, including technicians and maintenance and security staff, also took strike action in November, January and February. Unite says that more strikes will be announced if Imperial College's management fails to put forward a better offer.

Unite has commenced a further industrial action ballot of its members at Imperial College today to extend the strike mandate into the summer. The ballot closes on 24 April

Unite national officer Andy Murray said: “Our Imperial College members will continue to strike until a fair pay offer is put forward by the university. Imperial College can afford to pay a reasonable rise and that is what it needs to do.” 

The strike on Wednesday also involves members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU).

Imperial negotiates pay directly with staff rather than at national level with other universities and colleges, so the dispute does not involve the University and Colleges Employers Association. 


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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.