Row over university pay hits north-east Scotland with strikes at local universities

27 June 2016 | last updated: 4 July 2016

The dispute between university staff and their employers will escalate in the north east this week with staff at both Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University (RGU) due to walk out.
 
UCU Scotland members at Aberdeen University will be on strike on Tuesday 28 June, as they walkout to coincide with a meeting of the university's governing body and re-sit examinations. The dispute will move across the city to Garthdee on Thursday 30 June as staff at RGU walk out, again targeting a meeting of the governing body.
 
The strikes at the north-east universities follow a two-day national strike on  25 and 26 May and UCU members at universities elsewhere in Scotland striking over previous weeks. The dispute is over a 1.1% pay offer from the universities' employer organisation, UCEA.
 
The union said the offer does nothing to address the 14.5% real terms pay decrease staff in Scottish universities have suffered since 2009.  At the same time principals in Scotland have been receiving pay increases of up to 15%.
 
Mary Senior, UCU Scotland official, said: 'The very last thing staff at Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University want to do is go on strike, but they have been left no other option.  Universities have created a dispute when this could all have been avoided if they made a reasonable pay offer.  Our members are determined to see this through.  It is time for the university principals to do the job they are very well paid for and come back to the table with a fair pay award for all staff.'
 
The dispute also calls on universities to address the use of zero-hours contracts and the gender pay gap.  Half (49%) of university teachers are on insecure contracts and, on average, the difference in pay between what men and women academics are paid is £6,103 per year.
 
Union members are also working to contract as part of the dispute, meaning that they will only work their contracted hours, and refuse set any additional work or take on any voluntary activities.
 
The union is also encouraging members who are external examiners to resign those positions.  This will disrupt the marking process over the summer when exam boards meet to consider challenged marks as there will be a lack of external examiners who provide the critical quality assurance aspect to the process.

 

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