University workers to join colleagues in pay row ballot
THOUSANDS of staff at Wales’ universities are being balloted for strike action in a row over wages and conditions, saying pay has fallen by 21% in real terms since 2009.
Lecturers and other staff at Swansea, and Trinity Saint David universities will join colleagues at Aberystwyth, Bangor, Wrexham Glyndwr, South Wales, Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan and members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 143 UK universities in the ballot which opens on Tuesday.
Staff at the University of Wales Registry (part of Trinity St David) are also taking part and results will be known next month.
The action follows a UCU strike on changes to pensions last year which saw a climb down by employers after work was disrupted at universities across Wales and elsewhere in the biggest action ever to hit UK higher education.
UCU members at Cardiff University will take part in two ballots, the national ballot on pay and conditions and another over local job cuts
The union said the pay and conditions dispute rests on universities’ failure to improve on the 2% pay offer made at pay talks last May.
The offer from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) did nothing to address the falling value of higher education pay, which has declined in real terms by 21% since 2009, it said.
UCU head of policy Matt Waddup said: “Staff have concerns about spiralling workloads, pay inequality and the continued casualisation of the workforce. Yet universities have failed to engage with us in these negotiations which has undermined the credibility of national bargaining and left us in a situation where we have no alternative but to ballot our members.
“Staff want these important issues to be taken seriously, and that includes the 21% loss in the value of their pay since 2009, which the recently imposed 2% pay offer does nothing to address.”
About 70,000 staff across the UK will be balloted.
Some universities say they have been struggling with less funding a fall in research fees and applications.
Universities Wales, which represents institutions in Wales, was asked to comment.