3rd April 2023

Created on: 03 Apr 2023

The Difference Is Striking

Dear Member

As you will be aware from your own experiences, inflation is soaring, with RPI (the Retail Price Index) now sitting at 13.4%. RPI is calculated from a notional basket of goods/services commonly bought by people in the UK, but, as the ONS acknowledges, it does not seek to and does not capture the entirety of the cost-of-living. 

For many people, their level of inflation could be even higher than RPI. You can use the calculator from the ONS to find your household level of inflation.

While inflation is predicted to come down, that just means that the increases in costs will slow a bit, not that everything will go back to previous prices. You will still pay higher sums at the checkout, and your wages are, in real terms permanently affected by increases in inflation. Since 2009, your pay is, in real terms worth more than 30% less that it was. This is clearly unsustainable.

We take seriously the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on staff. The University sector’s pleas of poverty we take less seriously. We’ve looked at the latest 2021-22 Scottish University published accounts and the facts just do not bear out their claims. Universities in Scotland are sitting with reserves of over £5.8Bn between them, up from £5.5Bn the previous year.

Many Universities are reporting increased cash reserves – no doubt inflated by pay staff less in real terms; eg Glasgow Caledonian University.

The University had strong and increased cash reserves at year end totaling £70.0m (2020/21 £45.6m). This was split over short term investments of £50.1m (2020/21: £24.1m)and liquid cash available of £20.0m (2020/21: £21.5m).

Universities could offer something more to you, but they’re choosing not to do so.

The ballot is about giving your negotiators the mandate to continue to push for better pay and its important you don’t let the employers off the hook! Voting for a renewed mandate on industrial action is key to pushing the employers back to the negotiating table. It’s time to take action to force the universities to make a fair pay offer.

Vote YES to strike action and YES to action short of strike. We need everyone to vote so that we can get across the legal 50% threshold and call the action to really put pressure on the Employers. They won’t be moved by words. Only action will force a rethink of their position.

You owe it to yourself and to your fellow lecturers to vote YES and YES! Vote now.