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Strike for Fair Pay - 3rd December

1. Pay
In the last four years, pay in real terms has fallen by almost 15% for most support staff in higher education.

2. Inequality
Higher education has a greater gender pay gap than the rest of the public sector.

3. Zero hours contracts
More than half of higher education institutions are using zero hours contracts and the numbers are growing.

4. Funding surpluses
Higher education institutions continue to add to their reserves. In the last two years, surpluses in the sector have been over £2 billion. The IOE alone has £18 Million in reserves as of 2012.

5. Job security
A 2013 union pay survey showed that job security was a key priority for staff. We want a national agreement that will avoid redundancies.

6. Workloads
Staff deserve a reasonable work-life balance. Surveys show around 30% of staff are working over 50 hours a week.

7. High pay for some
Pay restraint hasn’t been applied equally. Since 2009, the number of staff paid over £100,000 has increased substantially.

8. A Living Wage
We are fighting for a Living Wage, to give a decent standard of living to those of you on the lowest pay.

9. Doing nothing is not an option
 Unless we stand together, your employers will continue to make below inflation offers, believing that staff will accept the crumbs they offer. If we keep silent they will feel free to ignore our concerns on pay, equalities, workload and job security.

10. The pay claim is affordable
The money is there in the universities. Higher education staff are worth it!


Why we are taking action on 3rd December - Message to Students

UCU, UNISON and Unite have joined together to ask for a modest pay rise to tackle the problems of falling pay levels and to ensure that all universities pay a living wage to their lowest paid workers.  The request put forward was just for the cost of inflation – in other words, just to keep salaries exactly the same.  However university management will only offer 1%, which is another 2.3% below inflation which in real terms means yet another pay cut for staff.

We think our request is a fair offer– it will not see big pay rises for staff, all it will do is keep our salaries the same and avoid another pay cut for the fourth year running.  It is also a deal the universities can afford. Between them, our universities have amassed a surplus of more than £1.1 billion. But they are refusing to spend any of this on investing in the staff who make our universities work. If they don’t start to invest some of the money they have amassed on tackling the problems of low and falling pay in our universities, our reputation will suffer and so will the quality of education that students receive.

But why do you have to strike?
We feel we are left with no other option. We have tried to persuade our employers to tackle the problems of falling pay by talking, negotiating and campaigning, but they still refuse to use any of their amassed money for a fair pay deal. That means we have to either accept an endless attack on our pay and conditions – or do something about it.  The members of all our unions, representing all staff who work in higher education, have voted to take action because we know that unless we do, things will just get worse.  Which will in turn affect the quality of education and support available to yourselves as students.

The National Union of Students believes that rather than allowing students and staff to be pitted against each other, students and staff should find common ground and wherever possible, work together to defend education.

What can you do?
If you are a student you can complain. You are likely to have paid fees for your studies. Your education and studies will be disrupted by this industrial action. If the dispute becomes protracted it could lead to an assessment boycott and possible delays in achieving your qualification.  You could contact IoE senior management about your concerns.

You could ask questions about:

  • Compensation for disrupted studies?
  • What IoE management are doing to resolve the dispute?
  • What (if any) pressure they are putting on UCEA (the university employers organisation)?
  • What formal complaint procedures you can take up if these disruptions to your studies continue?
  • ......and other questions/concerns specific to your situation.

Professor Chris Husbands (  is Director of the IoE. He has been a student, a secondary school teacher and he will be concerned if your studies are disrupted.

We apologise for any disruption caused by our action – but we ask for your understanding and support, because if we can’t get a fair deal from our universities, everyone will suffer.


Stop the pay squeeze in higher education

A public meeting. Everyone welcome. View poster (pdf).

Date   12 September 2012
Time   13:00 - 14:00 hrs (lunch provided)
Venue  University of London Students' Union (ULU) - location
Room   Malet Suite

The latest calculations (pdf) show staff have had a salary cut in real terms of almost 14% over the last three years. And this doesn't even take into account rises in London costs, particularly in the privately rented sector. Meanwhile vice chancellors' pay continues to soar. What can we do to protect our pay? Come and find out!


Branch annual general meeting 

At the branch AGM on 27 June we..

  1. Heard an update from the IOE UNISON branch on planned cuts in the Estates and Facilities department. UNISON and UCU are opposing these cuts.
  2. Received the president's report (pdf) for the year, including the need to escalate industrial action over cuts to pensions and pay. *
  3. Heard about the unreasonable obstruction faced by academics working in Palestine/Israel and passed a resolution to campaign against this.
  4. Elected the branch executive for 2012-13.
  5. Heard a report on UCU Congress 2012 from our branch delegate.
  6. Voted to send a letter to UCL UCU branch in support of their "Statute 18 campaign" to stop management from making it easier to sack academic staff.

* We were reminded that UCU had reinstated "Action short of strike action" on 18 June, for members nationwide, over our ongoing USS pension dispute.


Stop the cuts at IOE demo

On 7 June, UCU and UNISON members from IOE, SOAS, Birkbeck, UCL, LSE and ULU held a rally on the IOE concourse to protest against proposed cuts to the IOE's Estates and Facilities department. From 1-2pm we gave out a leaflet (jpeg) to passers by and demonstrated against proposed redundancies, job-downgrades and pay cuts that would hit poorest paid staff hardest and reduce frontline services to students and staff. Our branch president sent a letter (pdf) to Director Chris Husbands, opposing the cuts and calling on management to give proper consideration to the alternative proposal put forward by the unions.