Summer of strikes at Scottish universities continues into July

4 July 2016

An increasingly bitter dispute between university staff and their employers is set to continue into July with another four universities across Scotland taking strike action this week.

UCU Scotland members at St Andrews University, Strathclyde University, Dundee University and Abertay University will all walk out tomorrow (Tuesday 5 July).
 
The day of action in the four universities follow a two-day national strike in late May (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: 'This week sees a significant escalation in this dispute with another four universities going on strike in Scotland.  This reflects the genuine anger at the high-handed way the employer has handled these negotiations.  Our members don't take going on strike lightly, but after six years of real terms falling pay they have little option. '
 
As well as pay, the dispute also focuses on the use of zero-hours contracts in universities 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.
 
UCU members are working to contract as part of the dispute, meaning that they will only work their contracted hours, and are refusing to set any additional work or take on any voluntary activities.
 
The union is encouraging members who are external examiners to resign from 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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