Thousands of support staff at 20 universities in England and Scotland to strike over pay

Credit: PA

Thousands of support staff including cleaners and librarians at 20 universities in England and Scotland are to stage co-ordinated strikes in the coming weeks in a dispute over pay.

More than 5,000 staff could take part as they escalate their demands for a fair wage rise after many years of below-inflation increases, Unison announced on Thursday.

Those set to strike include cleaners, IT technicians, administrators, library staff and others supporting student learning.

The walkout is separate to strikes at the end of the month by lecturers and other staff at 140 universities in a separate row over pay and conditions.

In England, 16 universities will walk out across two days in October - Monday 2 and Tuesday 3.

While, a series of strikes will take place in Scotland later this month on September 20 at four institutions – Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow School of Art, University of Dundee and University of Glasgow.

The new strike dates coincide with the start of term and follow industrial action at a number of universities earlier this year.

Staff voted to reject a pay offer for 2023/24 – worth between 5% and 8% but well below the rate of inflation at the time – in a consultation conducted by UNISON earlier this year.

In a union ballot that ended in July, workers at these 20 higher education institutions backed further strikes.

Mike Short, Unison's head of education, said: “Support staff play a crucial role helping students through university, but they’ve endured years of real-terms pay cuts.

“Many can’t support themselves as prices of food, fuel and household bills continue to rise. Some are having to leave for better-paid jobs elsewhere and that risks leaving millions of students facing a worsening university experience. Universities must improve wages.”

Members of the University and College Union will strike for five days from September 25 in their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

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