UNISON members at the University of Winchester have been on strike on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st September. With the highest turnout for HE UNISON members in England at 75%, UNISON members at the university voted overwhelmingly to strike. Nationally, the employers have walked away from the negotiating table and strike action is our only means to get them to return to the table.
Locally, the University of Winchester are treating the matter as settled and have imposed 3%, which is a 7% real terms pay cut, coming after many years of real terms pay cuts. They are also now indicating that they will tear up the local bargaining structures, so members have no choice but to demonstrate that they are organised, determined, and willing to continue this dispute until senior management go back to UCEA, the employers’ association, and state that an improved offer must be made. Strikes will continue until there is a satisfactory settlement on the national table. UNISON members at Winchester are not alone in taking action this week, universities across the country will also be taking industrial action for fair pay.
UNISON Head of Higher Education for the South East, Neil Duncan-Jordan commented that ‘Our members have seen their pay fall catastrophically at the university causing real hardship. There are UNISON members using food banks to feed their families. Our members sense of injustice is exacerbated by the fact that their employers at Winchester have ensured that their own pay has gone up in leaps and bounds while they impose annual cuts on their colleagues, the VC remuneration package is worth around £300,000 a year. This cannot go on – members are at the end of their tether and will fight to restore fair pay. We look to the public to recognise the justice of our struggle and give us their support. Enough is Enough.’
- The ballot for action produced the most emphatic results in the country: 87% in favour of strike action on a 75% turnout.
- UNISON is the country’s largest unions with 1.3 million members.