Latest edition; topics include pay, living wage, pension read more
After an early start on picket lines hundreds of staff from both universities joined forces to march around the city centre to protest about pay. Students demonstrated their solidarity by marching with university staff.
The rally made its way to Barkers Pool at midday where speakers, including Simon Renton, national president of UCU, and Hallam UNISON Branch Secretary Dan Bye, addressed the large gathering to outline the reasons for the protest.
Police officers with the rally approximated 300 to 400 strikers were active.
UNISON’s members in higher education are being balloted for industrial action over the employer’s final pay offer of 1% across all pay points.
The vote opened on 18 September, with ballot papers being sent to members’ homes.
The national higher education service group executive is urging a vote for strike action, demanding an improved offer from the employers.
The pay claim is affordable, and the need to address the loss of income over the last five years for those in the sector is urgent. Living costs have increased by over 15% over the past five years. In that same period, pay increases for most staff have been worth around 2.2%.
This represents a shortfall in pay of around 13% for higher education staff. For someone on point 16 of the pay scale, this would represent a loss of over £1,600 per year.
Over 4,000 workers in the sector are paid less than the living wage of £7.45 per hour (£8.55 in London). This means their income is below that needed for a basic standard of living.
The money is available for an improved offer. The Higher Education Funding Council for England, which funds higher education, produced a report in March, showing that the sector posted record surpluses of over £1 billion.
Members need to use their vote in the ballot.
UNISON is officially urging members to vote for industrial action, sending a clear message to their employers that they are worth more than 1%.
Up-to-date information on the ballot can be found on the higher education pay pages
From 18th September 2013 UNISON ballot papers will be sent to members’ home addresses by the Electoral Reform Society.
Members who do not receive their ballot papers within a week of 18th September can call 0845 355 0845 between 24th September and 12 noon 4th October. UNISONdirect agents will be able to take your details and arrange for a ballot paper to be sent to you (this will take 3 working days to reach you).
The UNISON ballot will close at 5pm on 8th October 2013.
UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group is campaigning nationally for a ‘YES’ vote from members, raising just some of the following points:-
• UNISON’s higher education members are facing a fifth year of pay awards below the cost of living;
• real-terms pay has been cut 13%;
• student numbers are up and cash surpluses in the sector are over £1bn;
• the English higher education funding body (HEFCE) reported in March 2013 that financial results are stronger than those previously projected in June 2012 despite a fall in public funding;
• the median pay package of the highest paid staff in the sector is £242,000.
Please contact your local steward or the branch if you have any questions.
Of the other Higher Education trade unions, UCU and UNITE also rejected the employers’ 1% pay offer and began consulting their members on the final offer with a recommendation to reject. We have no information at the moment about their next steps.
The branch has received information that the UNISON HE Pay Campaign is now under way and information for members can be found via the following link:
There is also information on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UNISONinHigherEducation?ref=hl
“Times Higher Education are running a “Best University Workplace” survey asking staff what’s it like to work at their institution. The link is here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.aspx?storyCode=2005875. A “.ac.uk” email address is required to complete the survey.
UNISON’s Education service group, recognising the challenges facing workers in the sector including job losses, outsourcing, increased workloads, low pay, and pay awards well below the cost of living, has asked members to participate in the survey to make sure it accurately reflects those issues. “
There are just a few days left to vote in the Higher Education pay consultation; our survey will close on 30th June.
If you have not already voted, please take this opportunity to let the branch know how you feel about the 1% pay offer. We’ll be reporting the results to the Higher Education Service Group Executive, who will then take a decision on next steps in the pay campaign.
You can find the survey and the guidance issued by UNISON about the pay offer here.
The University of Liverpool have issued a Section 188 notice of their intention to dismiss nearly 3000 staff, then rehire them on inferior contracts that will compel them to work more hours, more weekends and more bank holidays without appropriate compensation.
UCU have launched a petition to condemn the employer’s decision and to call on them to withdraw the dismissal notice and return to talks.