Scottish university workers vote to join cost of living strike wave 

UNISON media release 

22 August 2022 

Embargo: for immediate release

Scottish university workers vote to join cost of living strike wave

UNISON Scotland university members, working at Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Robert Gordon and Glasgow Caledonian have voted for industrial action in a national pay dispute.

UNISON represents professional services staff in universities including cleaners, library workers administrators and IT technicians – all of whom kept universities running through the pandemic.

In 2020, 2021 and 2022 – during the pandemic – employers imposed pay awards of 0%, 1.5% and 3%. Even with some top-ups for the lowest paid, no university staff has received anything close to current levels of inflation.

UNISON members at Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Heriot Watt universities also voted for industrial action but missed the 50% turnout threshold by the very narrowest of margins.

Davena Rankin, branch secretary at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “University professional and support staff have gone above and beyond to support students throughout the pandemic and it’s time they were given the fair pay and recognition they deserve.

“No worker wants to go on strike but the sad reality is that we are struggling to meet household costs and this will only get worse.

“University professional and support staff have suffered years of poverty pay and below inflation pay rises but enough is enough.  With the cost of fuel, food and energy all shooting up, we can’t afford anything less than an inflation busting pay rise and we deserve much better than what the employers have offered.”

Lorcan Mullen, UNISON regional organiser, said: “Even before this cost of living crisis, pay inequalities on Scottish campuses were a national disgrace. The universities have – despite the severity of this crisis – imposed yet another pay deal that works as a real-terms pay cut for our members.

“We congratulate our members at four universities for beating thresholds set out in Tory anti-trade union legislation, but bitterly resent the impact of these unjust laws on democratic decisions made in three other institutions. We will decide on next steps in the coming days, but university bosses should know their lowest-paid staff are demanding more money and more respect, now.”


For further information contact:

Lorcan Mullen, UNISON regional organiser, 07903 853 116.

Trisha Hamilton, UNISON Scotland’s communications officer, on 07943 507 307 /