In a very helpful statement to staff forced to go on strike this week for decent pay, the full time officers of the GCU students association last week issued the statement we reprint below with thanks
Staff who are members of the UCU, EIS and Unison Trade Unions have voted to go on strike action at GCU to defend their living standards. Unison will be on strike on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd November 2022, EIS will be on strike on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th November 2022 and UCU will be on strike on Thursday 24th, Friday 25th and Wed 30th November 2022. The EIS is a Scottish strike and the UCU strike is happening at every university across the UK. Staff do not have to tell the University in advance if they plan to strike, so the University will not know in advance what classes will be cancelled. Strikes will mean lots of classes will be cancelled and access to other services may be affected. On strike days staff are not paid and will not do any work on these days. UCU will commence action short of strike (ASOS) on 23rd November 2022. ASOS is when staff take other action, such as limiting some work-related activities.
Your Full Time Officers support these strikes and to educate our members, GCU students, on the reasons behind this dispute. Our position will be presented to Student Voice, our policy making body, to become our policy.
The final offer made by Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) was up to 9% for staff on the lowest spine points, and an increase of 3% for staff on or above spine point 20 (currently £26,396). This is well below inflation (which stands at RPI 11.8% as of June 2022). This means a real terms pay cut for staff during the cost of living crisis in the United Kingdom. According to UCU the value of pay in higher education fell by 17.6% relative to inflation between 2009 and 2019. Based on the employers’ offer and the most recent inflation data, that figure is now approximately 25%. With inflation forecast to keep increasing in the short to medium term, salaries will continue to fall further and exacerbate the cost of living crisis for many.
Whilst Glasgow Caledonian University has made a local decision to support employees with the impact of the cost of living crisis by providing £1,000 to each GCU employee this year, the Full Time Officers believe that the university sector can afford an improved offer and call on Vice Chancellors, including our own Principal and Vice-Chancellor, to ensure a meaningful pay rise in order to avoid strike action.
The Full Time Officers support the planned strikes and fully recognise the impact these strikes will have on students’ learning and teaching and their wider student experience. Staff working conditions are students’ learning conditions. We are also mindful of the important work done by cleaners, security staff and other professional support staff in the day to day life of the University. The National Union of Students (NUS), to which we are members, have also come out in full support of the strikes.
In addition to statement of support, we will invite the campus trade unions to address our Academic Rep Gathering and Student Voice meeting, offer the use of the Students’ Association Building for staff on strike days and be vocal on our ongoing support over social media and relevant channels.
What can GCU students do to show solidarity with staff on strike?
1. Email the Principal (email@example.com) and ask for UCEA to offer a meaningful pay rise in order to avoid strike action.
2. If you come onto campus take a leaflet from staff striking on the picket line and ask them more about the reasons they are striking. A picket line is where staff and union reps stand outside a workplace to tell other people why they are striking.
3. Recognise it is the responsibility of the University for any missed learning and teaching and not the staff on strike. Staff are entitled to refuse to reschedule classes or provide materials for classes on strike days.
If you have any questions please contact me at: president@GCUstudents.co.uk.
Laiba, Chukwuma, Jennifer and John
Full Time Officers 2022/23