Bournemouth lecturers on strike today over pay and conditions

Bournemouth UniversityUCU members at Bournemouth University are today on strike as part of the union’s wave of nationwide action over pay and conditions.

Staff at the university have timed their action to coincide with a large number of examination boards, which ratify marks for students’ exams, scheduled for Thursday.

Examination boards due to take place on Thursday cover a range of subjects including: accounting and finance; business studies; archaeology, anthropology and forensic science; psychology; corporate and marketing communications; communication and media; English; marine ecology and conservation; and politics.

The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of just 1.1% from the universities’ employers, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. UCU said universities can afford to pay more and the offer did little to address the real-terms pay cut of 14.5% that members have suffered since 2009.

The squeeze on staff salaries comes despite vice-chancellors enjoying a 6.1% pay hike.

The union has also called for universities to commit to closing the gender pay gap and reducing the proportion of staff on casual contracts. On average, female academics are paid £6,103 less a year than their male counterparts, while 49% of university teachers are on insecure contracts.

UCU local representative John Brissenden said: “Our targeted strike action is a result of the employers’ failure to deal with the declining real-terms pay of university staff or tackle the problems of growing numbers of hourly-paid lecturers and the persistent gender pay gap. Members have been left with no alternative but to take this action.”

Since 2010 the amount spent on staff by universities as a percentage of total income has dropped by 3%. However, the total of cash reserves has rocketed by 72% to stand at over £21bn. The nationwide strikes over pay began with two national strike days in May and now UCU members at separate institutions are striking to disrupt local events such as open days and graduation ceremonies.

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