Around 1,000 Unite members on strike this week

A rally in Glasgow will be held tomorrow (19 September) in support of Scottish university and college workers on strike in disputes over pay.

The rally will be held at 12.30pm on Buchanan Street Steps, Glasgow. A number of guest speakers are scheduled to make contributions including: 

·      Chris Kennedy, Chair Unite Scotland Education Industrial Sector Committee

·      Eddie Cassidy, Unite Executive Council member

·      Andy Murray, National Officer for Education Sector Unite

·      Roz Foyer, STUC General Secretary

·      Jeanette Findlay, UCU Scotland President

·      Thora Hands, EIS-FELA City of Glasgow Branch

·      Pam Duncan-Glancy, Labour MSP and Education Spokesperson

The rally will be attended by Unite members from Glasgow and Strathclyde universities who will march to the rally from their workplaces. The workers will be joined by other Unite members from the Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University. Members from other trade unions including UCU, Unison and EIS-FELA will also join the march. 

Around 1,000 members employed in four universities and four colleges across Scotland have been taking strike action. Workers at the University of Glasgow, Dundee University, Abertay University, and Strathclyde University are striking from 18-19 September. Unite’s members involved in the pay dispute include technicians, cleaners, security officers, and janitors.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s members in universities and further education have received tremendous support from students, fellow workers and the public. At the heart of these disputes is how we treat and value dedicated workers who help to provide the best possible learning experience. Let’s remember that they did so all throughout the pandemic. We will back our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The vast majority of Unite members in universities have had a 5-6 per cent pay offer imposed on them. The pay imposition follows a derisory uplift of 3 per cent for the majority of members in 2022. The strike action is part of a UK wide higher education pay dispute. 

Around 100 members across four colleges have also walked out in a separate dispute over pay. Workers in Ayrshire College, Dumfries and Galloway College, and West College Scotland are striking on varying days this week (see notes to editor). New College Lanarkshire members took strike action on 7 and 11 September. 

The dispute centres on a real terms pay cut offered by the pay body - College Employers Scotland, and the potential threat of compulsory redundancies. 

Unite regional officer Alison Maclean said: “The strike action involving around 1,000 Unite members in universities and colleges across Scotland is solely down to the intransigence and inaction of pay body bosses. The rally in Glasgow will be a welcome opportunity to demonstrate to these bosses just how much goodwill and support there is out there for the workers. The students and workers know where the blame for this situation lies, and our members are prepared to fight on for fair and decent pay.”


Notes to Editor

Strike action as follows:

Ayrshire College:  00.00hrs-23.59hrs on 19th September.

Dumfries & Galloway College: 00.00hrs – 23.59hrs on 21st September.

West College Scotland: 00.00hrs-23.59hrs on 18th September.