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