Higher Education staff are gearing up for strike action next week after members rejected the employers’ offer of a 1% pay rise this year, which would mean they have suffered a pay cut of 13% in real terms since October 2008.
The economist Will Hutton has highlighted this as one the most sustained cut in wages of any profession since the Second World War.
The squeeze on staff pay comes at a time when pay and benefits for university leaders increased, on average, by more than £5,000 in 2011-12, with the average pay and pensions package for vice-chancellors hitting almost £250,000.
UNISON head of Higher Education Jon Richards said: “Our members are upset and angry – this measly 1% offer is simply not good enough. The work of support staff is essential for the smooth running of universities and they play a vital role supporting students, but many are struggling to survive on low pay.
“The gap between prices and pay has widened since this government came to power and trying to feed a family and heat a home is a daily worry. The fact that staff are willing to take strike action shows how desperate they feel. The employers should take note and come back with a more realistic offer.”
Members of UNISON and the lecturers’ University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Winchester have urged the Vice-Chancellor to return to the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and convince them to improve their pay offer.
Many HE staff are struggling to make ends meet and Hampshire UNISON members will be out on the picket lines next Thursday 31st October, standing together with members of UCU and Unite. There will be picket lines at Medecroft, The Dytche, Main Entrance, Burma Road Entrance and West Downs up on the Romsey Road – all support on the day will be most welcome.