University staff in Notts to strike

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Staff at universities in Nottingham will walk out tomorrow as part of a national two-day strike in a row over pay.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be on picket lines at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University.

UCU members will also begin working to contract from Wednesday, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work, or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

If no agreement is reached in the coming weeks, members have agreed to further strike action targeting open days and graduation ceremonies in June and July. The union is also beginning preparations for a boycott of the setting and marking of students’ work, to begin in the autumn.

The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of 1.1 per cent from the universities’ representatives, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). UCU said universities could afford to pay more and the latest offer did little to address the real terms pay cut of 14.5 per cent that its members have suffered since 2009. The squeeze on staff salaries comes despite pay and benefits for university leaders increasing by 5.1 per cent in 2014/15.

Regional official, Sue Davis, said: “A 1.1 per cent pay offer is particularly insulting when we know vice-chancellors have just had over five per cent. University staff can no longer put up with the continued squeeze on their income. After years of pay restraint and constant demands to do more for less, staff have said enough is enough.

“Industrial action which impacts on students is never taken lightly, but members feel that they have been left with no alternative. It’s time for universities to invest properly in teachers, researchers and administrators. The employers need to come back with a better offer which reflects the hard work of staff.”

Two-thirds (65 per cent) of members who voted backed strike action and three-quarters (77 per cent) voted for action short of a strike.