Cost of Living Crisis – University Support Staff Strike Again For Pay Justice

UNISON members at three Scottish universities will walk out today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday), taking further action to protest another imposed, below-inflation national pay award in the university sector.

In striking for pay justice, they also urge their employers, the Scottish Government and sector leaders to act to protect this workforce from the ravages of the cost-of-living crisis.

UNISON members at the University of Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier University and Robert Gordon University will be taking part in the strike action on October 3 and 4. Our members at Glasgow Caledonian University have postponed their action for a second time in order to finalise negotiations and consult members on a local offer. The dispute there remains live until a deal is accepted by members, and further strike dates will be named in the interim.

Lorcan Mullen, UNISON Scotland’s head of higher education and further education, said:

“The workers we represent are indispensable to a functioning university, and they’ve had enough of the massive pay and wealth inequalities on Scotland’s campuses.

“In recent weeks, union pressure has led to a range of offers and impositions of one-off payments from several Scottish universities to supplement the imposed, disputed national award. These developments clearly demonstrate the ability to pay better on a permanent basis, and undermine UCEA’s case for such a dismal series of pay awards.

“Our members are resolute in their fight to secure a fair pay settlement we are pleased to see more politicians and community allies expressing support for our campaign. UNISON will take up the offer of negotiations with any willing employers, but a lack of substantive progress will mean more strike dates this year.”


Notes to editors

  • Pickets will run from 8am – 12 noon on both days at the Glasgow’s main gate on University Avenue, at the Sir Ian Wood Building at Robert Gordon, and outside the main entrance of the Merchiston campus (Monday) and Sighthill campus (Tuesday) at Napier.
  • UNISON members at almost all other Scottish universities will be balloted or re-balloted later in the autumn, meaning more of our branches are likely to join this action in time.
  • UCU, EIS-ULA and Unite are at varying stages of consulting or balloting their members for action in the same dispute.
  • The disputed, imposed UCEA offer is 3% for most university staff, with some bottom loading bringing the award up to 7.2% for the lowest paid. This is still well-below inflation and comes after many years of real-terms pay cuts.
  • Universities, unlike the vast majority of other public service employers, still do their pay bargaining at a UK, rather than a Scottish level.
  • In Scottish universities, UNISON is the largest union for professional services and support staff, representing cleaners, security officers, student support staff, library workers, administrators, IT technicians, catering staff and a range of other professionals supporting educational activities.