Why are staff striking? UCU Rep Matt Davies explains…

Some students may be asking “Why are staff taking strike action tomorrow?” Please read the following from Dr Matt Davies, UCU Rep for Dumfries Campus to understand the ins and outs of the issue:

“Dear all,

As you may already know members of staff at the University of Glasgow and UWS have been in dispute with their employers over pay. Unfortunately the our employers continue to refuse to negotiate with us and it is with regret that we will be on strike again on Thursday 6th (all day) and Monday 10th (9am – 11 am) of February. Staff at Universities have been offered a 1% pay rise which, given current rates of inflation, means the value of our salaries has fallen by 13% over the last 5 years. Whilst academic staff generally have good enough levels of pay we have many more junior research and administrative colleagues who are on dire zero hours contracts or who are paid close to the minimum wage. Few of us work in Higher Education to get rich, we do it because we genuinely care about education and research. Unfortunately our dedication doesn’t seem to be matched by senior management. At the same time as most staff have seen their salaries shrink, senior managers have awarded themselves increases almost four times as much as their colleagues. That’s despite the fact that people like our Principal already earn more than a quarter of a million pounds a year. Education should not be run like a corporation, we believe that fair pay across the board is the least we can ask for. My union has tried for months to negotiate with the university employers but they refuse to increase their 1% pay offer.

In the past UCU has stood together with students to oppose increases in tuition fees because we believe that education should be a right not a privilege. We would therefore ask for your continued patience and support at this time. Our action means that, regrettably, some lectures or classes will be cancelled over the coming weeks. Please be assured that we will all work as hard as we can to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged in the long term.

On Thursday and Monday please support your lecturers and their colleagues by refusing to cross the picket lines outside Rutherford/McCowan. Do feel free to come and talk to us about the current dispute though. We anticipate that the vast majority of classes falling during the strike periods will be cancelled but check with your course convener. If your class is running ask them why they’re not prepared to campaign alongside their colleagues. If you’re as angry as we are then consider writing to Glasgow’s Principal, Anton Muscatelli (principal@glasgow.ac.uk), and ask him why he’s not supporting his staff and what he’s planning to do with the extra £7500 a year he’s awarded himself.

Best wishes,

Dr. Matt Davies
Lecturer in Environmental Stewardship
UCU Representative “

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