The University and College Union (UCU) will be holding a one day strike to coincide with a day of strike action by the National Union of Teachers (NUT). This will be on Tuesday 5 July.
This affects our higher education (HE) members in the University of Chichester, both Bognor Regis and Chichester campuses.
It also affects our members in schools across West Sussex.
Advice for UNISON members:
- Advice to UNISON members is that, because UNISON members have not yet been balloted for action, they need to go about their usual contracted duties in the normal way, but without covering any of the duties of striking UCU and NUT members.
- UNISON members are encouraged to visit picket lines outside working hours or during scheduled breaks, to show solidarity with UCU and NUT pickets. Take them some cakes or biscuits! This is always most welcome.
- School support staff should not be expected to provide cover for or take classes, where this would normally be done by teachers who are taking action. In particular, higher level teaching assistants or cover supervisors should only be taking classes or providing cover where they are contracted to do so, if it is timetabled or part of their normal duties. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover classes and frustrate the industrial action of colleagues.
- If UNISON members have any queries they can direct them to their UNISON reps or the Branch office.
Why is the UCU taking strike action?
Strike action is being taken to improve the employer’s 1.1% pay offer. There is significant resource within higher education (HE), and more of this should be devoted to the pay of staff:
- The value of university staff pay has fallen 14.5% compared to inflation since 2009. This makes working in a university a less atrractive option. We need to invest in staff who teach and support students.
- Women are paid 12.6% less than their male counterparts in UK higher education. This is unfair. Universities must show commitment to eliminate the gender pay gap.
- 75,000 university staff are on insecure ‘casualised’ contracts, including more than 20,000 on zero-hours contracts. All university staff should have secure contracts.
- Vice chancellors saw theor pay increase by an average of £14,595 last year.
- Universities across the UK have a combined surplus of £1.85bn: more than enough to invest in those who make the real difference: the staff.
Why is the NUT taking strike action?
- The NUT is taking strike action in response to the funding crisis in our schools, which is impacting on teachers’ terms and conditions and children’s education.
- The NUT is also highlighting the complete break-up of our education system into individual academies, which is resulting in a breakdown of teachers’ employment rights.
- Hard fought for entitlements such as sick leave and maternity/paternity rights are under attack. Meanwhile, pay systems are now being decided at school level.
- This is a monumental waste of head teachers’ time. There is absolutely no evidence that this sort of deregulation will lead to higher standards. In fact, it will simply increase local disputes and an ever-increasing teacher shortage.
- Schools urgently need extra funding to meet the additional costs government has put on them through increased National Insurance and pension payments. This amounts to a 5% charge on the teachers’ pay bill for schools. George Osborne is freezing the cash per pupil he gives to schools, whilst increasing what he takes from them. For every 20 teachers employed, a school has to find an extra teacher salary to give to the Treasury.