Members of the UCU trade union at the University of Salford began a two day strike this morning, joining colleagues nationally protesting at what the union calls a `derisory' pay rise of 1.1%, plus growing pay inequality amongst academic staff which sees a gender pay gap of 12.6%, and the increased casualisation of staff.
"We've got pickets out all over the campus" Salford University UCU Treasurer, Glyn Heath, told the Salford Star "We've been offered a very derisory 1.1% and our standard of living has decreased over the last seven or so years by about 15%. We're on strike to try and redress this differential. It's a national strike and, interestingly, the University of Salford has had support from the St Petersburg State Electrotechnical University..."
The head of trade unions at the Russian university conveyed "our support for our comrades at the University of Salford and across the United Kingdom in your struggle with the national employer over this difficult period whilst you are in dispute and hope the dispute is resolved to the advantage of members of UCU as soon as possible..."
The UCU states that while higher education staff have suffered a loss of value in their pay, there has been a significant rise in the pay of vice chancellors and principals. In 2013-14, the union states, the average vice chancellor salary was £260,290 and "on average, vice chancellors were paid 6.4 times more than the average salary of staff".
The union also argues that the higher education sector has over £1billion in operating surpluses, and that management "are spending lots of money on buildings and increasing revenues and they are doing it at our expense..."
The strike continues tomorrow, Thursday 26th May...