Friday, 6 July 2012

UNISON rejects 1% pay offer in higher education

UNISON rejects 1% pay offer in higher education

UNISON (YES!)today rejected the university employers' pay offer of just 1%. If final talks do not produce an improved offer, the union will ballot its 35,000 members in Higher Education (HE) for strike action over demands for a fair pay increase.

A consultation of HE members rejected the offer by a two to one margin, and today the union's national committee for HE agreed to call for a strike ballot if no further offer is forthcoming, with a recommendation that members vote to take strike action.

The union is asking for a guaranteed living wage for all HE staff and a decent cost of living increase, to reflect high inflation plus years of cuts in real pay. A freedom of information request sent to every Higher Education Institution (HEI) found that more than half of those who responded pay some staff below the current Living Wage. The Living Wage rates are £8.30 in London and £7.20 outside London and are calculated as the minimum needed to provide employees and their families with a basic standard of living.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON said:

"After three years of minimal pay rises staff are saying enough is enough.

"It is a disgrace that low pay is rife among UNISON members in universities across the UK. The gap between those at the top and the bottom is widening year on year and it is time to reverse the trend.

"Asking higher education institutions to pay a Living Wage is not unreasonable. But offering a 1% increase is a slap in the face to hard working members struggling to pay their bills in the face of high inflation."

Denise Ward, chair of the union's HE committee, said:

"Higher education institutions are now charging fees of up to £9,000, and they have healthy reserves and surpluses. Over the last few years, pay has fallen massively in HE as costs have risen, and the situation is urgent. The call for a ballot for strike action shows that support workers are at the end of their tether."


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