Support the December 3rd UK Universities Strike

The YCL once again calls on all students across the UK to support the strike action called by UCU, UNISON, EIS and Unite for today 3rd of December. The YCL welcomed the good turnout for striking workers and was particularly heartened by the broad and widespread support from students for the strike action on the 31/10/2013. As with the Halloween strike students should not attend lectures, tutorials or seminars etc. or use university library, or any other facilities, while the strike action is taking place.

The YCL supports the many student occupations and sits ins occurring across Britain in support of the striking staff. Where possible attend the local joint union rallies taking place in support of the strike. Unity and cooperation between workers and students is essential to prevent these attacks on workers, which are paving the way for privatisation. Furthermore if we are to reverse the assault  on further education by boards and managements zealously imposing the Condem educational doctrine -education being the privilege of the paying few- there must be a combined struggle between students and workers.

Once again Young Communists and all students place themselves firmly on the side of the workers striking for fair pay in higher and further education today.

Unite Press release 29/10/2013
“Hardline bosses at cash rich universities are blamed by Unite, the country’s largest union, for failing to reach a fair settlement before a second day of strike action at UK universities on Tuesday (3 December).

Despite talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) refused to budge, so Unite’s members in higher education will be joining Unison, the University and College Union (UCU) and the Scottish education union, the EIS for a one day strike on Tuesday.

Unite contrasts the five year pay drought which its members have endured, resulting in a 13 per cut in pay in real terms since 2008, with the lavish remuneration packages – averaging just under £250,000 a year – that the UK’s vice chancellors enjoy.

Unite national officer for education Mike McCartney said that the one per cent pay offer on the table for 2013/14 was “completely unacceptable”, given that the cumulative operating surplus in the higher education sector was now over £1 billion.

Mike McCartney said: “We had a very successful one day strike on 31 October when our members were heartened by the strong support from other staff, students and members of the public.

“The intransigence of the employers, who are sitting on a cash mountain of £1 billion, has not moved us forward. No new offer, other than the existing one per cent, leaves the higher education unions with no choice, but to take further strike action on 3 December.

“The unions are at a loss as to why the meeting under Acas’ watchful eye went ahead with nothing extra being put on the table – it makes a mockery of the concept of negotiation.

“It should be not be forgotten that it is the hard work of higher education staff that keeps Britain in the top ten of the world’s universities.

“While highly paid vice chancellors travel the world, in some style, drumming up student numbers, it is our members that underpin the whole higher education system.”

Unite’s membership embraces technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities management staff. The union has about 20,000 members in higher education. ”

UCU Press release 29/11/2013
Universities and colleges will be hit with the most widespread disruption for years on Tuesday as staff walk out in a row over pay.

Classes will be cancelled in further education colleges and universities as members of four trade unions take strike action. They are angry that, as the cost of living has risen, lecturers’ pay has been slashed in real terms since 2009.

University staff in UK universities first walked out on 31 October when members of UCU, Unison and Unite took strike action. On Tuesday (3 December) they will be joined by their colleagues in the EIS trade union in Scotland. Meanwhile lecturers at further education colleges in England will be taking their first day of strike action, also in a row over pay.

Staff in universities were offered just a 1% pay rise this year, despite their pay plummeting by 13% in real terms in last four years. Lecturers in further education colleges in England fared even worse when employers offered them just 0.7% to try and compensate for the fact their pay has been cut by 15% in real terms since 2009.

UCU said it was disappointed that talks with the university employers this week failed to bring about any resolution to that dispute. The employers refused to improve the 1% offer that staff rejected and which prompted the strike action. Talks between the union and representatives from further education colleges are scheduled for Monday.

Staff will be on picket lines in towns and cities across the UK from early in the morning, with many then making their way to local rallies in their area. HE Pay Dispute 2013 – Fair Pay in HE.

UCU head of bargaining, Michael MacNeil, said: ‘Staff in universities and colleges are taking strike action to say enough is enough. They have seen their pay slashed in real terms since 2009 and this year’s miserly pay offer, at a time of rising bills, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

‘Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted. Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day’s pay, but we feel we have been left with no alternative.’ “

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