Scottish university staff join pay strikes

Scottish university staff have joined other university employees across the UK in strike action over pay.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) have joined members of trade unions Unite, Unison and the University and College Union (UCU) to strike on 3 December. Members of Unite, Unison and UCU staged their first day of strike action on 31 October.

The unions are protesting against a proposed 2013/14 pay rise of just 1%.

However, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) said that, with incremental increases and contribution pay for high-performing staff on top of the general pay rise, sector pay is set to increase by 3%.

It also stated that, following the strike action on 31 October, its 150 participating higher education employers confirmed that the pay increase on offer is sustainable, fair and final.

A UCEA spokesperson said: “The overwhelming majority of staff realise that the unions’ continuing demands for higher pay increases are neither affordable nor sustainable and they have no wish to cause any disruption to their institutions, and especially their students.

“Pushing pay costs even higher than the 3% already committed would simply put jobs at risk and nobody wants that. If the second day of strike action goes ahead, institutions will do their very best to protect students.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary at the EIS, added: “Strike action is always the last resort for any trade union, but it is the point at which we have reached in the pay dispute with the UCEA.

“The employers do not seem to understand the affect that four years of sub-inflationary pay rises have on their staff.

“Members literally cannot afford to go on like this, and that is why we have joined our three sister unions and colleagues in taking concerted action to pursue our claim for fair pay.”