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Universities report 'no disruption' as staff strike

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

Staff at City College Plymouth on the picket line in their walkout over a 1% pay offer, which unions argue means a real-terms cut of 13% since 2008

Staff at City College Plymouth on the picket line in their walkout over a 1% pay offer, which unions argue means a real-terms cut of 13% since 2008

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University and college staff across the Westcountry manned picket lines for the second time in just over a month yesterday, causing some disruption to lectures.

Tens of thousands were set to go on strike across the country for the one-day walkout staged by the University and College Union (UCU), Unison, Unite and the Scottish education union EIS.

The dispute centres on a 1% pay rise offered to university staff – including lecturers, technicians and administration workers – which the unions insist means there has been a 13% pay cut in real terms since October 2008.

Steve Allen, UCU chairman at Plymouth City College, said: "We haven't had a pay award since 2009.

"The college has a £5.5 million surplus. The staff have achieved a grade increase from Ofsted and we have had nothing for that."

However, similar to the strikes carried out on October 31, universities reported only minimal disruption.

Plymouth University said "So far as we are aware, there has been no reported disruption to lectures, events or other activities at the university as a result of this second day of national industrial action."

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said 4,000 staff at universities earned less than the living wage.

He said: "The employers' imposed payment of 1% does not address the increasing cost of living for staff who face rising energy costs and increasing food bills, and does little for the 4,000 staff working in universities who earn less than the living wage.

"A fair day's work deserves a fair day's pay, and higher education workers deserve a better standard of living in return for their hard work and the contribution they make to the success of UK universities."

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association, which represents and negotiates on behalf of universities as employers, said it was "disappointed" with the move.

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