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University of Bradford staff strike over pay dispute
Staff at the University of Bradford staged an early morning picket yesterday over what they describe as a real-terms pay cut of 13 per cent over five years.
University staff, who are also members of the three University unions, UCU, Unison and Unite, took part in a nationwide strike yesterday, with one member saying it was “just the start” and hinting that longer strikes and even marking boycotts could take place if the pay dispute is not resolved.
The unions say that workers’ pay has risen way below inflation and so slowly that it amounted to it being “one of the most sustained cuts in real pay since the Second World War.”
They argue that despite university fees rising dramatically in recent years, along with pay and benefits for university leaders, staff at all grades have been offered a pay rise of only one per cent this year.
About 50 members of staff held a picket line at the university campus’ Richmond Road entrance at 7am, before a number of them travelled to Leeds to join a rally of more than 500 people.
A spokesman for Bradford University said departments remained open during the day, and there was minimal disruption to students.
David Ewen, branch president of the University and College Union, said the job was “increasingly demanding,” but the rewards were being “slowly eroded.”
He said: “I was on the picket in Bradford and it doesn’t look like there were many union members who crossed the picket. There were about 50 people on the picket at Bradford and at least 500 at the rally in Leeds.
“This is just the start of the action. If this strike doesn’t work, there will be further action, probably a two-day strike before Christmas and ultimately it could lead to staff taking part in marking sanctions. We don’t want to do that because of the disruption to students, but we may have to.
“This strike is the only way employers will realise that we are serious and hopefully they will come back to the negotiating table. If they don’t, I’m sure there will be more industrial action.”
The Universities and Colleges Employers Association said that the national strike was not widely supported by university staff, and that few sectors had seen pay rises match inflation.