University staff at Bedford campus set to join strike action over pay claim

University of Beds workers will join picket lines in early October
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Staff at the University of Bedfordshire’s Bedford campus are set to join strike action as they escalate demands for a fair pay increase.

The university workers represented by UNISON include cleaners, IT technicians, administrators, library staff and others supporting student learning.

They will take to the picket lines between Monday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 4.

Staff at Beds University campus are planning to join strike action in demands for a pay increaseStaff at Beds University campus are planning to join strike action in demands for a pay increase
Staff at Beds University campus are planning to join strike action in demands for a pay increase

More than 5,000 staff across the country could take part as they escalate their demand for a fair wage rise after many years of below-inflation increases.The strike dates come shortly after the start of term and follow industrial action at a number of universities earlier this year.Staff voted to reject a pay offer for 2023/24 – worth between 5% and 8% but well below the rate of inflation at the time – in a consultation conducted by UNISON earlier this year.

In a union ballot that ended in July, workers at 22 higher education institutions backed further strikes.Martin Thurlow, UNISON University of Bedfordshire branch chair, said: “Support staff play a crucial role helping students through university, but they’ve endured years of real-terms pay cuts.“Many can’t support themselves as prices of food, fuel and household bills continue to rise.“Some are having to leave for better-paid jobs elsewhere and that risks leaving millions of students facing a worsening university experience. Universities must improve wages.”

A University of Beds spokesman said: “We are disappointed that Unison has announced strike action despite staff being offered a final pay offer of between 8% and 5% – the highest HE pay offer made in nearly 20 years.

"It prioritises the disproportionate effect of high inflation falling on the lower paid but with a minimum of 5% for all staff.

“This decision has come despite the University of Bedfordshire deciding to bring forward this pay award to raise staff salaries from February (instead of August) in recognition of the cost of living crisis, as well as making a one-off staff payment in September 2022 as an acknowledgement of the cost of living challenges being faced by the country.”

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