University of Chester staff to strike in row over pay

23 June 2016 | last updated: 24 June 2016

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

Striking staff will be on picket lines outside the Exton Park entrance to the university on Parkgate Road from 8.30am.

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. 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.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: 'Our 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.

'Nobody wants to be out on strike, but we have been left with no alternative. We hope the employers will finally come back to us with a proper pay offer.'

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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