CAMBRIDGE University lecturers are striking tomorrow in the increasingly bitter tidal wave of strikes being waged nationally by the University and College Union (UCU) over pay and conditions.
UCU members at University of Cambridge are timing their strike action to coincide with the Open Day for prospective students and their parents. Striking staff will be on picket lines outside the central administrative building, The Old Schools, on King’s Parade from 9am onwards, lobbying students and parents as they arrive, to explain more about their campaign for fair pay and better conditions.
The dispute has arisen following a miserable pay offer of just 1.1% from the employers, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. UCU says the offer does little to address the real-terms pay cut of 14.5% that members have suffered since 2009 and insists that universities can afford to pay more.
The squeeze on staff salaries comes despite vice-chancellors enjoying a 6.1% pay hike.
UCU local representative, Waseem Yaqoob, said: ‘All the forces that are pushing up fees for students and increasing their debt are the same ones that are pushing our pay down. We want to explain to potential students and their parents that we are all in this together because our working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
‘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 casual contracts and the persistent gender pay gap. Members have been left with no alternative but to take this action.’
UCU Scotland members at Aberdeen University went on strike on Tuesday, while across the city at Robert Gordon University at Garthdee they strike tomorrow. 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.’
Union members are also working to contract as part of the dispute, meaning that they will only work their contracted hours, and refuse to set any additional work or take on any voluntary activities.