University staff strike again over pay

Staff at three more Scottish universities will strike from today as part of a dispute over pay and pensions, taking the total number of institutions affected to 11.

University and College Union (UCU) members will walk out today and tomorrow after the union refused a 1.5 per cent pay rise offer amid claims there would be a 35 per cent cut to their guaranteed pension income.

The full list of universities where staff will strike are Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Napier, Queen Margaret, Dundee, Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art, St Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde universities and the Open University in Scotland.

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Staff at all but Strathclyde university are also set to strike on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Protestors and Members of the University and College Union (UCU) during their rally in Glasgow, at the start of their 10 days of industrial action over pay, pensions and working conditions. Picture date: Monday February 14, 2022.

Approximately 6,000 staff from eight universities are believed to have joined picket lines last week as part of the ongoing industrial action.

The union is asking for a £2,500 pay rise for all university employees as it estimates that staff pay has fallen by more than a quarter (25.5 per cent) in real terms since 2009.

The National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland has also organised a rally in support of striking staff from 1pm tomorrow outside the Scottish Parliament to demand that staff are offered fair pay, pensions and working conditions, and for an end to student poverty.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "While the university sector continues to bring in tens of billions of pounds each year, the staff who make it work have been forced to endure over a decade of real term pay cuts and the indignity of trying to make ends meet on exploitative and insecure contracts.

"Vice chancellors and principals on eye-watering salaries have serious questions to answer as to why they have allowed staff pay to fall by over 25 per cent since 2009, further exposing staff to the cost of living crisis.

"Staff aren't asking for the world, they want secure contracts, decent pay, manageable workloads and for employers to end their vindictive attacks on pensions.

"But instead of listening to the long-standing concerns of their own workforce, employers have pushed them to breaking point and now half are reporting signs of depression.

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"During these strikes, the support of students has been overwhelming.

"In their thousands, they have lobbied their principals and we are proud that on Wednesday March 2 they will be taking UK-wide strike action alongside staff.

"It's high-time this world-leading sector stopped dining off the good will and dedication of its staff and started treating them with dignity."

Among those who joined the picket lines in Glasgow last week was Scottish Government minister and Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie.

Mr Harvie spoke at a rally at the Buchanan Street steps and afterwards tweeted: “Pleased to join the @UCUScotland rally at Buchanan St steps today.

“They have had to struggle far too long for a fair pensions settlement, but they are determined. Strong show of student support from @NUSScotland @glasgowunisrc and others too.”

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