For the second time this year staff at the University have walked out on strike over a 1% pay increase.
It follows on from a similar strike in October that was held by the three campus unions, the University and College Union (UCU), Unison and Unite, on the same issue.
Staff feel that the 1% increase is not suitable given the claimed 13% pay cut they’ve experienced since 2008 and given that nationwide pay for University leaders has risen by more that £5000 in 2011/12 with a Vice Chancellors pay and pensions packet reaching almost £250,000. This time, they are joined in their nationwide strikes by the Scottish Union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).
Students are advised to still come into University unless they have been notified before hand that their lecture has been cancelled. Students were advised before hand that the Avenue Campus Library will close throughout the day but it has emerged today that the Avenue Language library will also close and the Winchester School of Art library will run to reduced hours. Catering will also be affected with the Piazza, the Lattes in the Library and Life Sciences, the Bus interchange kiosk and the staff club healthy eating service all closed.
Following on from a vote in Union Council last night, SUSU will on this occasion not support the strike as council felt that it would have too severe an effect on the students.
On the Highfield campus, strikers manned pickets primarily outside the Student Services Centre, the Jubilee Sports Centre, near to the Redbrick area as well as at smaller sites outside the Hartley Library, EEE building and the Nightingale building. They are making their voice heard though chants, vuvuzelas and air horns making them heard across the campus and beyond. A few strikers have been wearing christmas hats while chanting phrases such as “Yo ho ho, we’ve got no dough.” Pickets have also been spotted outside Avenue Campus.
At 12.30pm the strikers moved to the red brick area for a rally that was well attended, despite the cold. During the rally, the strikers collectively booed the student population for not supporting them in the strike and to the groups such as Enactus who were trying to fundraise on the red brick during the rally.
You can read the UCU’s explanation for the strike from their press release yesterday, available here.
You can see SUSUtv’s report on the strike below.