Since 2009, the value of members' pay has fallen by over 20%! The Employers' pay offer for 2019/20, a headline uplift of only 1.8%, compounds that real terms drop in the value of your pay.
The reality is that Universities are choosing to invest in other areas – such as buildings – rather than in their staff. After nearly a decade of sub-inflationary pay settlements, the only avenue left open to us to secure a significant improvement in lecturers' and academic related staff pay is through industrial action.
The Employers' offer is in stark contrast to what is happening with senior staff pay, with remuneration packages for senior staff including pension perks and performance bonus payments.
With spending on Principals' salaries exceeding £4.8 million in Scotland in 2017/18, an increase of over 11% from the previous year, it is little surprise that the Scottish Government has called for action and urged senior figures within the university sector to demonstrate restraint in their own pay packages.
Despite all of this, UCEA has refused to re-enter negotiations on pay for the 2019-20 round and has called on HEIs to impose their pay offer.
Whilst lecturers' pay is falling in real terms the workload and expectations placed on academic staff continue to rise. Universities are getting more from their staff despite paying less. This has to be challenged – or it will only get worse. Management refused a request for a nationally agreed payment to recognise excessive workloads.
The time has come to take a stand and the only avenue left to achieve this is through industrial action. We have stood in solidarity with the UCU in this dispute and are only too aware that but for the anti-trade union laws, we would have been standing beside them, taking action on the picket lines.
Members now have the opportunity to make their voices heard at every university. This statutory ballot is operating on a disaggregated basis which means that action could be taken at each university where a turn-out of over 50% is secured (if members vote in favour strike action). There would be no requirement to reach the 50% threshold nationally.
Our ballot is only about pay, as most members are part of the teachers' pension scheme rather than USS; and any strike action will be planned on the basis of pursuing a fair pay increase for lecturers.
It's time to take a stand.
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