Thousands of workers at universities balloted for strike action

Thousands of workers at universities balloted for strike action
Thousands of workers at universities balloted for strike action

Thousands of university workers across the country are being balloted for strike action over a pay dispute.

Unite confirmed today that around 2000 union members across 11 universities will have until October 21 to have their say.

As well as the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde, workers at the University of Aberdeen, Abertay University, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University and the University of St Andrews are also being balloted.

The staff involved include cleaners, janitors, estates staff, and technicians.

The Unite members are part of a UK nationwide pay dispute involving the University and College Employers Association (UCEA).

Unite has rejected an offer amounting to 3.1% for some members.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary said: “The pay offer on the table from the UCEA is completely unacceptable at a time when inflation is 12.3%.

“The pay inequalities across Scottish universities are outrageous in a sector which is totally dependent on public money. No university principal is facing a cost-of-living crisis but our members certainly are and this offer which represents a massive pay cut can only make that worse.

“They will have our full support in this fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Peter Mathieson, University of Edinburgh principal, is understood to have an annual salary around £363,000, while Anton Muscatelli earns around £368,000 as principal of the University of Glasgow, according to the latest financial reports.

Alison MacLean, Unite industrial officer, added: “The UCEA has refused to reopen pay negotiations despite Unite and all trade unions arguing that they must come back to the table.

“A number of Scottish universities are also recognising that the offer is so poor they are encouraging a new one to be made to the workforce. It’s the first time ever that Unite is simultaneously balloting for strike action across so many Scottish universities but that’s a testament to the anger our members feel right now.”

Unite members at the University of Dundee are also on strike action in a separate dispute concerning pension cuts.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: "The University of Glasgow recognises the very real challenges facing members of staff because of the current cost of living increases.

"To help address this, we have budgeted for 3% in addition to the national pay increase of 3.18% which was awarded in August.

"If a further uplift is not agreed nationally, we will look at options to pay our members of staff the additional money we set aside while remaining within national pay structures.

"We have agreed with the campus trade unions to work jointly with them to address other issues they have raised.

"We look forward to a positive collaboration with our trade union colleagues to address concerns about workload, pay equity and security of contract.”