Letter from Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary
As you probably know, UCU members in higher education voted last week in support of industrial action in response to a wholly inadequate pay offer for 2016/17 from the employers. Around two-thirds of members who voted supported strike action and three-quarters supported action short of a strike.
The higher education committee (HEC) has now agreed the following programme of action aimed at improving the offer from 1.1%:
- A two day national strike Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May.
- An instruction to members to work to contract with effect from 25/05/2016. Full guidance will be issued this week on what you should and should not do.
Pay increases are important not just because they help protect staff against rises in the cost of living, but also because they provide a powerful indication of how much your contribution is valued by the employer.
Within higher education as a whole we know there is a £1.9bn surplus. We also know that vice-chancellors and principals have themselves received latest average increases of between 3 and 5%. Yet the value of your pay since 2009 has fallen by 14.5% when compared to the cost of living, with the latest final offer of 1.1% once again below inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI).
The university employers said recently that ‘investment in staff is fundamental to the success of our higher education institutions’*. Talk is cheap, what we need now is action not words.
Thank you for your support.
UCU general secretary