Uni­ver­sity work­ers to join col­leagues in pay row bal­lot

South Wales Evening Post - - LETTERS -

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.

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