University staff in Wrexham strike over pay

Published date: 07 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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STAFF at Glyndwr University have staged their latest strike in a row over pay.

Members of the University and College’s Union (UCU), Unite, and Unison, walked out of the Wrexham-based institution yesterday in an all-day protest.

It is the third full-day of action by staff at the university since the strikes began in October.

The dispute centres on a one per cent pay rise offered to university staff –  including lecturers and support staff.

Speaking from the picket line outside the university, Kate Wagner, chairman of UCU Glyndwr, said: “Our message is getting through with the more action we take.

“Persistent campaigns are working but we are wary about the disruption to students.

“However we have been delighted by the response of the Students’ Guild here who have been very supportive of our cause and have been encouraging student’s to try to claim back their fees they have lost whilst we’ve been on strike.”

Ben Tawil, UCU Glyndwr committee member, said: “The message is getting through and we just want a decent wage for higher education staff.

“We’ve been taking part in a number of two-hour strikes over the past few weeks, in a bid to cause as little disruption as possible for the student’s learning, because they shouldn’t be the ones to lose out.”

A Glyndwr University spokesman said: “We are disappointed the unions have decided to take strike action at this time but will ensure there is minimal impact on students. We are confident all services will operate as usual.

“Pay negotiations have taken place nationally against a backdrop of economic stagnation and expectations of restraint among higher education institutions.

“The outlook for public funding for HE is still uncertain due to predicted government cuts and financial insecurity.

“The one per cent annual salary increase is made alongside the offer of a number of joint working proposals on other important elements of the unions' claim, including further work relating to the gender pay gap and on hourly paid and casual work.”

l STAFF at the University of Chester also went on strike yesterday.

Members from Unison, UCU, Unite and EIS took part in the strike action because they say their pay has fallen by 13 per cent in real terms in the past five years of pay freezes.

Caterers, cleaners, security guards and student support staff were among those workers taking strike action, following previous walkouts on October 31 and December 3 last year.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The cost of paying a living wage to 4,000 low-paid workers is about £5m, which is a tiny fraction of the £2 billion reserves that university employers are sitting on and the £123m they have spent on agency staff.

“Higher Education workers have every right to be angry that wealthy universities can afford to give the highest salaried staff a generous pay rise, while the lowest paid are being forced to accept peanuts.

“For low-paid workers, it is a very difficult choice to take strike action, so the decision to walk out for a third time shows the depth of feeling amongst our members.

“Hard working staff have dealt with significant changes that increased their workloads dramatically – yet their incomes have been squeezed to breaking point."

A spokesman for the University of Chester said: “The University of Chester will be open for business as usual and every effort will be made by the university management to minimise the disruption to its students.”

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