UNISON members working in higher education are to be asked to vote for strike action over pay in a national ballot starting in September.
The move comes after they rejected the employers’ final pay offer in a consultative ballot. For most staff, this would see a pay increase of just 1.8%, well below inflation. Two thirds of members who voted on the offer rejected it.
Meeting to look at UNISON’s next steps last week, the union’s higher education service group executive agreed to:
- enter into a formal dispute with University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA);
- start a formal industrial action ballot, opening in September;
- “campaign in solidarity with the other higher education trade unions to seek an improvement on the pay offer for 2019-20”.
The executive noted that the offer from the UCEA failed to meet any of the aspects of the joint unions’ pay claim, and said it was particularly disappointed with the pay element. On top of that, it pointed out that the employers’ decision to impose last year’s final pay offer in August had “had caused serious concern and breached the good faith in which the unions enter negotiations.”