University of Bedfordshire staff rally against 0% pay offer

Four people hold up signs reading 'Vote Yes'

University of Bedfordshire staff rallied in Luton today over an “insulting” 0% pay offer for 2020.

Professional services staff are currently balloting over industrial action after the national Universities and Colleges Employers Association imposed a 0% ‘rise’ at the end of much-delayed talks on the August 2020 pay award.

Universities union UNISON held a protest at the university’s Luton campus this morning as staff push for an improved offer. Demonstrators held signs reading: “Thanks for Nothing.”

Below-inflation pay rises in the last decade means that staff in higher education are earning 16.4% less than they were in 2011.

University of Bedfordshire UNISON branch chair Martin Thurlow said: “Our staff have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic both at home and on campus, so to be offered nothing is utterly disgraceful.

“University managers must return to pay negotiations for 2020/21 and make a real offer backdated to August 2020.

“All HE staff deserve a fair pay raise, not only for last year, but this year and every year.”

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Shane Hall said: “0% is an insult to the Beds Uni support staff who ‘ve gone the extra mile keeping students and colleagues safe throughout the pandemic.

“This includes the IT teams who built networks almost overnight to move courses online, the caterers who delivered food to isolating students and the security staff who put themselves in harm’s way when Covid was raging through universities.

“Employers must see sense and reconsider.”

University of East Anglia UNISON is holding an online rally on Monday 26 July as they push for a better offer.