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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 October 2016

Unison higher education seminar points no way forward over pay

Unison education workers striking with UCU lecturers, 24.2.16, photo Iain Dalton

Unison education workers striking with UCU lecturers, 24.2.16, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Domenico Hill, Bristol University Unison (personal capacity)

The Unison higher education sector seminar took place in Brighton 20-22 October. The key issue for union members was the decision by the service group executive (SGE), by the narrowest of margins, not to call strike action over the 2016 pay claim, despite the fact that 55% of those voting were in favour.

A representative of the SGE argued that the turnout had been too low to justify taking action. But a delegate from Brighton University pointed out that the number of members voting to take strike action was almost exactly the same as in 2013, when strike action was taken and won an increase from 1% to 2%.

The SGE tried to blame the education union UCU for taking strike action on its own in May without exhausting all options, but it's pretty clear from bitter experience that the universities would not shift noticeably on their derisory pay offer, this year from 1% to 1.1%.

This discussion was taken on the last morning of the seminar and little time was allowed for a proper discussion.

Wage decline

For eight years in a row university staff have seen their wages decline. The seminar broke up with a sense of anger at the lack of leadership by the SGE, mixed with some frustration and feeling of helplessness.

The key task is to ensure that the left win a solid majority on the SGE so we can finally start standing up for an increasingly low paid and undervalued workforce.

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In The Socialist 26 October 2016:


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Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Higher Education:

triangleUCU members balloting for action on pension cuts

triangleMobilise against rip-off executive pay

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Unison:

triangleThreat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

triangleUnison national women's conference

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

triangleLeeds college pay protests

Pay:

triangleGerman engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

Education:

triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

Strike:

triangleNewham academies strike continues with three schools to strike together

University:

triangleLeicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

UCU:

triangleHow can students and young people fight the Tories?

Bristol:

triangleBristol anti-cuts campaigners debate alternatives to the cuts

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