Unison industrial action

Victoria Building

University support staff who are members of Unison are being encouraged to take part in strike action on Monday and Tuesday next week (2 – 3 October).

The industrial action, which is taking place at several UK universities, is in relation to a dispute over pay.

University buildings and services

The Sydney Jones and Harold Cohen Libraries will be running slightly reduced opening times from Sunday, 1 October to Tuesday 3, October:

  • Sunday, 1 October open all day until 9:30pm
  • Monday, 2 October open 8:30am – 6pm
  • Tuesday, 3 October open 8:30am – 6pm.

Normal 24-hour opening times will resume from 8:30am on Wednesday, 4 October.

All other buildings and services will remain open to normal schedules throughout the industrial action. Please continue to attend your lectures, seminars and other classes as normal.

If you are on campus during the strike action you may see some staff picketing at the entrance to some buildings. We have provided some detail about pickets and what to expect on our dedicated FAQs page.

Dispute information

As a university we subscribe to a process of collective negotiation which, in respect of pay, is managed by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

One of the central pillars of collective negotiation is the opportunity to achieve fair and equitable pay, pensions and working conditions for staff working across the higher education sector and not just in individual institutions. There are many benefits for staff in this approach, but it is not without its challenges. What may be affordable in terms of a pay uplift for one institution, for example, can have serious financial implications at another. This process means that for good reason, there are limits to what we are able to do as an individual institution.

Discussions between our three recognised trade unions – UCU, Unison and Unite – and UCEA took place over several months, and UCEA submitted a final pay offer in January this year which has since been implemented for all staff. The uplift ranged from 8% at the lowest end of the scale to 5% at the highest end of the scale, which was comparable to many public sector pay awards this year.

There has also been significant progress on the non-pay elements of the dispute which include concrete proposals in relation to the reform of the pay spine, the disability, ethnicity and gender pay gaps, workload and contract types.

Discussions with our regional and local branch officers are continuing in an effort to avert this action and any further disruption.

Please continue to check our Student News pages regularly for further information about the support available for students during industrial action. Remember that our student services are there to support you alongside your student experience and learning and teaching support teams within your school if you need them.