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Taking action in higher education

Strike action hits UK universities this morning

6 February 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU this morning reported strong support for its strike action taking place in UK universities all day today. UCU members are taking action along with their colleagues in Unison, Unite and the EIS in an increasingly bitter row over pay.

Staff were on picket lines at campuses across the UK from early this morning, despite wintry weather in some parts of the country. The union said the strong show of support for the strike from university staff should send a clear message to employers that they must return to the negotiating table with a fair pay offer.

Classes will be cancelled and libraries, canteens and other services shut throughout the day as workers, angry at a pay offer of just 1%, walk out. A 1% pay rise would leave staff with a real-terms pay cut of 13% since 2009.

While staff pay has been kept down, vice-chancellors enjoyed an average pay rise of 5.1% last year, and an average salary of £235,000. 

It has also been revealed that UK staff are being paid less than their contemporaries in other English-speaking countries. 

Union members will be making their way from picket lines to a host of rallies, teach-ins, marches and other events in towns and cities across the UK.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The strong support for our action demonstrates how angry staff are at the hypocrisy over pay in our universities. The employers cannot plead poverty when it comes to staff pay and then award a handful at the top enormous pay rises.

'Research shows that our universities are performing at the very top on the global stage, yet our staff are being paid far less than those in other countries. It's time for fair pay for all in our universities.

'Taking strike action is always a last resort and we would urge any students frustrated or annoyed at the disruption to contact their vice-chancellor and ask them to put pressure on their representatives to come back to the negotiating table with a fair pay offer.'

Union members took two full days of strike action last year. Members of UCU separately took two two-hour strikes in January, a third two-hour stoppage is scheduled for Monday (10 February) from 9-11am.

Follow @ucu and the hashtag #fairpayinHE on Twitter. Also keep up to date with events and see pictures and videos of today's action on UCU's live blog