Thousands of lecturers and non-academic staff, including many of those at University of York, will go on strike over pay on the 31st October, after members of the University and College Union (UCU), Unite and Unison each voted for joint action. The announcement follows a ballot of academic staff in UCU which saw 62% back strike action. It will be the first ever UK-wide joint strike by university unions. York People’s Assembly is pledged to support the action.
Speaking to student paper Nouse, Joanna de Groot, President of the University of York Branch of UCU, said: ‘At a time when universities have healthy financial surpluses of around £1bn, and feel able to award senior staff substantial pay rises, their offer to the staff who deliver the core activities of universities leaves us with something like a 12–13% fall in our pay over the last four years.
A former member of the UCU’s National Executive, Doug Rouxel, told Nouse: “Ultimately, this industrial action is about protecting the Higher Education sector from a dangerous gamble being made by Vice Chancellors. The employer representatives must start negotiating with the unions on the claim, not dismissing it out of hand, as they have done so far.”
A Unite union ballot of 20,000 non-academic staff at universities, including York, saw 64% also backing strike action. The staff include technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities’ management staff. Unison members, also represented at York, voted for strike action by 54%. Solidarity action from students is expected after a statement of support was launched on Wednesday by the Student Assembly Against Austerity.
The original, longer version of this report can be found on the Nouse website.