Following the strike on October 31 by staff from universities across the country, a further strike is planned to take place tomorrow, December 3. It has come after university bosses offered a 1% pay increase at conciliation talks in November which was rejected.
Four unions will be taking part: Unison, Unite, the Scottish Education Union (EIS) and the largest trade union for academics, the University and College Union (UCU). The reason for the strike is the same as on Halloween: a five year pay drought for academics and other university staff which has resulted in a 13% pay cut since 2008.
Mike McCartney, Unite’s national officer for education described the offer of a pay increase of 1% as “completely unacceptable” on Unite’s website, as pay and benefits for university leaders is said to have increased by £5,000 in the 2011-2012 academic year. The website also reported that the average pay and pensions package for university vice-chancellors nears a quarter of a million pounds.
The strike’s effects will include cancelled lectures, although an email sent to Loughborough University students states that “It is unclear at present how many staff at Loughborough may be involved in this action, but we will seek to function as close to normal as possible.” A further email sent to some students states outright that the increase in fees paid by students who began their degrees after September 2012 more than make up for the cuts in government funding, but that less and less money is being spent on staff.
The strike will last one day, and students are urged to assume that their lectures will continue as normal unless they have been otherwise informed. Students should also keep an eye on their university email to avoid missing information about their changed lecture schedule. It is likely that there will be staff at the entrances to campus distributing leaflets, but access to campus will be completely unhindered.