All members of GCU staff who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be on strike through the whole of week 10 (Monday 25th – Friday 29th November), and then Monday 2nd December – Wednesday 4th December in Week 11.
This means that we will not be giving lectures, seminars, tutorials or workshops. Neither will we be working in admin and professional services, nor helping with Graduation on Tuesday and Wednesday 26th and 27th November.
We do not take this action lightly – we see our job as helping students gain the maximum from their time at university and achieving their best possible while here.
But we feel we have no option but to ‘withdraw our labour’ due to our treatment by UCEA – the University and College Employers Association.
Every year we negotiate on behalf of our members with UCEA, asking for a wage level which will not cut our living standards, and for progress to close the gender pay gap between women and men in the sector, and work towards eliminating the pay gap which exists for Black and Ethnic Minority staff. We also want action to ensure that our members have proper contracts and are not teaching or giving services to students while on temporary or casualised contracts. The so-called ‘gig economy’ is bad news for everyone involved in it, and we don’t want it to spread further into universities.
Finally we believe the vast majority of staff have excessive workloads – we work well beyond the hours we are contracted to do, and therefore until this is eliminated we are asking for this to be recognised and recompensed.
Instead of offering a wage increase that would keep up with the cost of living (Retail Price Index) and make up some of the losses over the last 5 years, the universities instead imposed a pay settlement (of 1.8%) which means a lowering of our living standards in real terms. Nothing was done on our other requests either.
Following this our union said:
The final offer will mean another year of pay cuts for higher education staff. Pay in the sector has been considerably eroded, while workloads and (capital expenditure) have increased.
The final offer will also mean that the gender pay gap in higher education remains at around 12%, which is far greater than in the wider economy and the rest of the public sector. The offer fails to address the urgent action needed to address the intersectional issues that create the gender and race pay gap.
The final offer does not meaningfully address widespread precarious and casual employment within the sector in the form of any attempt at reaching a UK level agreement.
The final offer does not make a payment for partial compensation for the significant unpaid and unrewarded work undertaken by staff in higher education over recent years.
Here is a short video putting the relevant points from one of our negotiatiors
How you can help.
The GCU students union has put out a very welcome message of support to us.
You can also ask our university management to contact UCEA and ask them to improve the ‘settlement’ they imposed on us.
For details of how to do this go here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/studentvoice
We want to be back at work. We want to continue helping students gain a great education – but we are being pushed too far.