University workers ballot for industrial action over pay

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Unite logoUnite members working in universities across the UK are being balloted for industrial action after being offered a 1.1% pay rise.

The ballot of around 9,000 technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities management staff opened yesterday and closes on September 21st.

The union says years of below inflation pay rises has seen staff pay shrink by up to 16% since 2012, while university heads and senior managers have enjoyed bumper pay hikes of around 5.1% on average.

Unite is urging the employers to get back around the table to negotiate an improved pay offer to avert potential strike action causing mass disruption to students at the start of the new autumn term.

Unite is also calling for action on the gender pay gap and increasing use of zero hour contracts in the sector.

Unite national officer Mike McCartney said: “The last thing our members want is to take strike action but after years of below inflation pay rises they have been left with no choice.

“Years of below inflation pay rises has seen staff pay shrink by between 15 and 16% since 2012. The squeeze on staff salaries comes when the pay of university leaders and senior managers has increased by an average of more than five per cent, with the average pay package for vice chancellors standing at £272,000.

“The employers need to start recognising the critical role our members play in keeping the country’s biggest and best universities running. Without them things would grind to a halt.

“We are urging the employers to get back around the table to negotiate an improved pay offer; one that recognises the vital contribution our members make. We want to see an end to the blatant double standards that have allowed vice chancellors’ pay to rise four times faster than the pay for most staff.”

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