University of Liverpool staff will strike to hit open day

23 June 2016 | last updated: 24 June 2016

Staff will run "alternative open day" as part of day's strike action

UCU members at the University of Liverpool will be on strike on tomorrow (Friday 24 June) as part of a wave of nationwide strikes in a row over pay and conditions.

Staff at the university have timed their action to coincide with an open day for prospective students and their parents. Union members will lobby students and parents as they arrive to explain more about their campaign for fair pay and better conditions, and will hold an alternative open day.

Striking staff will be outside the main entrances to the university from 8:30am to catch open day visitors as they arrive for the event, which begins at 9am. The union's alternative open day, which will take place opposite the Harold Cohen Library will also kick off at 9am.

The union's event will have speakers picking up on the key elements of the dispute looking at pay, equality and the problems of an increasing casualised workforce on insecure and zero-hours contracts.

The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of just 1.1% from the universities' employers, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. UCU said universities can afford to pay more and the offer did little to address the real-terms pay cut of 14.5% that members have suffered since 2009. The squeeze on staff salaries comes despite vice-chancellors enjoying a 6.1% pay hike.

UCU local representative, Jo McNeill, said: 'Our targeted strike action is a result of the employers' failure to deal with the declining real-terms pay of university staff or tackle the problems of growing numbers of zero-hours contracts and the persistent gender pay gap.

'Members have been left with no option but to take this action. As well as lobbying students and parents attending the official open day, we will be holding a good-natured alternative event where current and prospective students and their parents can come and learn more about our campaign.'

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-hours contracts. On average, female academics are paid £6,103 less a year than their male counterparts, while 49% of university teachers are on insecure contracts.

Since 2010 the amount spent on staff by universities as a percentage of total income has dropped by 3%. However, the total of cash reserves has rocketed by 72% to stand at over £21bn. The nationwide strikes over pay began with two national strike days in May and now UCU members at separate institutions are striking to disrupt local events such as open days and graduation ceremonies. More details are available here and via the Twitter hashtag #FairpayinHE

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