Scottish universities join latest wave of strikes in escalating pay row

10 June 2016 | last updated: 14 June 2016

Members of the UCU Scotland at Glasgow University, Edinburgh University and the University of the West of Scotland will join the latest wave of UK wide strikes when they walk out next week in a row over pay.

Staff at Glasgow University have timed their action to hit an open day on Thursday (16 June) for potential students and their parents at the university. They will be on picket lines as well as lobbying parents and students to talk to them about their fight for fair pay and better conditions.
 
Over at the University of the West of Scotland on the same day staff will be on picket lines from 7.00am at the university's Paisley campus while the university is holding a 'Festival of Learning'.  Meanwhile at the University of Edinburgh on Tuesday (14 June) staff will target a meeting of the university's senior managers.
 
The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of just 1.1% from the universities' employers, UCEA. UCU said universities could afford to pay more and the latest offer did little to address the real terms pay cut of 14.5% that its members have suffered since 2009. The squeeze on staff salaries comes despite recent figures showing that university principals in Scotland have enjoyed pay increases of up to an incredible 15%.
 
The union has also called for universities to commit to closing the gender pay gap and reducing the proportion of staff on casual and zero-hour contracts. On average, female academics across the sector are paid £6,103 per year less than male counterparts while 49% of university teachers are on insecure contracts.
 
UCU Scotland official, Mary Senior, said: 'UCU members are taking part in targeted strike action this week because they have had enough of their pay being held down, while a few at the top continue to be paid handsomely. These three strike days are the first in a series of strikes by local branches that will hit universities across Scotland throughout the summer.  The very last thing university staff want to do is take strike action but they've been left with no alternative but to escalate their industrial action after universities refused to come back to the negotiating table with a fair offer.'
 
As well as walking out last month, UCU members in branches all across Scotland have started working to contract, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work, or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.
 
The union has also called on external examiners to resign their positions on exam boards; a move which will disrupt marking this summer when boards meet to discuss challenged marks. External examiners are a crucial part of quality assurance in universities, as each course requires an external examiner to ensure that an institution's assessment is fair and comparable with others.

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