Uniting workers and communities in the London Borough of Camden
UNISON along with UCU and EIS have today announced a further 1 day national strike for the 6 February 2014 in response to the HE employers refusal to improve their inadequate 1% pay offer. Unite are currently undertaking further consultation.
Universities are refusing to make a decent pay offer, despite holding huge cash reserves, which are predicted to continue for the next few years by the Higher Education Funding Council, which describes university finances as being “sound overall”.
UNISON Branches up and down the country will be protesting next week to highlight the inequality within the sector, as well as the added value that employees contribute to the student experience.
UNISON’s National Secretary Jon Richards said “ Universities are keen to proclaim their success and line the pockets of Vice Chancellors and their cronies with inflation busting rises as a reward. Yet thousands of HE staff earn below the Living Wage. Workers who even the Chancellor of the Exchequer acknowledges are the “working poor”.
“The money is there to pay more. Staff who have managed to hang onto their jobs through significant changes have seen their workload increase dramatically, yet their incomes have been squeezed to breaking point”.
“UNISON is calling a 3rd strike day with sister trade unions to show HE employers that staff will not lie down and accept the crumbs off the high table”.
Unity is strength – a tough nut to crack
The TUC has a paper policy of coordinating strike action against the Tory onslaught of austerity – and that means we should be working with all unions who are in dispute, whether it is over pay, pensions or privatisation.
Ideally we would be out with teachers in schools, probation officers and firefighters, as well as support staff and lecturers in colleges and Uni. Local Government officers should be out alongside nurses and civil servants – we all face deep and damaging cuts.
In UNISON Higher Ed, with our sisters and brothers in UCU, Unite and EIS, our strategy has been to try to get as many unions with live disputes to coordinate action together.
So we called the 6th Feb strike day as part of a week of action: Local Government UNISON have called for a day of action on the 4th Feb – not strike action but their campaign may well lead to a ballot.
The RMT are also out on the 4th and 5th Feb In London over job cuts.
UCU and EIS will be out on 6th with UNISON in HE (Unite are still consulting on further action at this stage).
Teaching union, the NUT, said in November 2013 after rolling regional action, that they would enter talks with Gove and at the latest would put on hold further strike action until the 13th Feb.
The momentum that built up around the November 2011 pensions dispute did not happen overnight (see photo of June 2011).
I believe we can still win our dispute if we seriously build stronger connections across all those TUC affiliated unions who realise that alone we cannot win our separate disputes but together our chances increase exponentially.
Max Watson UNISON NEC
So we’ve taken the plunge and called another day to restart the pay dispute: lets restart the momentum and begin to build some of the unity we so badly need to win our dispute over pay.
The TUC policy of uniting and coordinating strike action needs to be made meaningful or last September will be remembered as just another month of posturing during conference season.
See you on picket lines, demos and rallies during a week of action in early Feb: lets start the year as we mean to go on – moving forward together.