Members of the Association of Universities and Colleges attending the UCU Congress (UCU) today (Sunday) voted to vote for colleges of education across England on strike action.
The vote will be held in September and if successful it will lead to a strike from October, unless employers meet UCU’s requirements for pay, workload and Living Wage.
The decision followed an electronic ballot of approximately 18,000 UCU members at 190 university branches, of which 87% of members voted in favor of strike action. Voter turnout was over 50%.
UCU is asking for an RPI above-inflation pay offer, a national workload agreement and binding national wage negotiations. Earlier this month, the employer’s agency, the Association of Colleges, declined to make a nationwide offer of pay.
Members of UCU told Congress today that the cost of living crisis is having a devastating impact on those in further education. This backs up the UCU study This shows that the vast majority of university staff are not financially secure, affecting the mental health of more than 8 out of 10 people, many are forced to skip meals and limit the use of hot water to save money. Seven out of 10 people said they would leave the field unless wages and working conditions improved.
UCU Secretary General Jo Grady said: ‘Today our members voted overwhelmingly on plans to win a fair deal for university staff. Low wages, heavy workloads, and a bargaining framework that doesn’t benefit employees have created a crisis in further education.
‘We refuse to allow employers to push our members into poverty, nor do we accept the workload that puts our members in the sun for hours. . Unless they come to the table with a decent offer, we will start voting in colleges across the UK from September.’
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