University of Bedfordshire strikes loom unless pay increases, says UNISON

University support staff in Bedfordshire have voted to strike over a “sub-par” pay offer from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), says UNISON today.

Cleaners, IT technicians, library staff and other higher education workers at the University of Bedfordshire and another eight institutions across England will now decide on dates to take action unless UCEA increases its pay offer for 2023/24.

UNISON says the current offer falls a long way short of inflation and staff deserve more.

The 2023/24 pay offer is worth 5-8% depending on salary, with a higher percentage rise for lower paid workers. Some of this amount – around £83 per month before tax – was paid early to staff in February to help with the increasing cost of living.

UNISON Eastern head of higher education Julie Trundell said: “University staff deserve more than another sub-par pay deal.

“Support workers play a crucial role helping students though university. But many can’t support themselves as prices of food and fuel continue to rise.

“Workers are having to leave for better-paid jobs elsewhere leaving millions of students facing a worsening university experience.

“The employers must now come back with a better pay offer or staff will be forced to take industrial action.”

Strikes are also on the cards at Bristol, Liverpool Hope, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester Met, Sussex, Winchester and SOAS, part of the University of London.

University of Bedfordshire UNISON branch chair Martin Thurlow said: “Staff have made it very clear that enough is enough and are willing to fight for a decent pay rise by taking strike action. I am immensely proud of what our members have done, and I look forward to standing beside them on the picket line.”

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