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Cambridge Staff Discuss Strike Action

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

University staff at Cambridge are discussing whether they should take industrial action following a pay offer branded as miserly by union officials.

Members of the Unison union at Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin universities need to decide whether they should accept a 1.1% annual pay rise, or seek an improved offer.

Ballots have now been sent out to union members, who will have until September 19 to decide the next course of action.

The union represents support staff at both universities, including admin staff, receptionists, cleaners and porters.

According to Margaret Meredith, branch secretary at Anglia Ruskin: "For seven years living costs have outstripped pay increases in universities. A member of staff earning £17,000 per year is £2,340 worse off a year due to below-inflationary pay rises in recent years."

One of the arguments from support staff is that pay austerity is a choice, not a necessity, as proven by the 6.1% pay increase that vice chancellors received last year. With additional funds available it's argued that all staff should have a fair deal.

The ballot comes after a series of strikes by academics in the city, which saw members of the University and Colleges' Union holding demonstrations at the end of the summer term.

If the latest ballot results in strike action it would represent the first time that Unison members have walked out in the past three years.