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Nursing lecturers step up strike action over pay

Academics to work to rule over ‘insulting’ pay offer

Nursing lecturers will take part in a summer of disruption over an ‘insulting’ pay offer.

Branches of the University and College Union (UCU) will step up industrial action following a two-day strike last month. They are angry at the offer of a 1.1% pay rise from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

On top of further strikes, UCU members nationally have voted to work to their contracts, refusing to do overtime and cover absences. The union has also called on external examiners to resign their positions on exam boards.

Boycott

At the union’s annual congress in Liverpool on June 2, members working in higher education voted to boycott setting and marking work in the autumn term.

The union said employees have experienced a real-terms pay cut of 14.5% since 2009. The ‘insulting’ pay offer comes at a time when vice-chancellors are enjoying pay hikes of 6.1%.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, said: ‘Following members’ decision to back escalating strike action, local branches have already come forward with strike dates timed to target open days and graduation ceremonies.

‘We hope the employers will respond positively to our members’ decision to escalate their action and come back to us with a serious pay offer.’

Consultation

In response, a UCEA spokesman said the two-day strike had generated ‘no or low’ impact and according to universities’ data only 9% (5,000) of UCU members took part.

He said that an average of 1.7 external examiners per institution had resigned in connection with the dispute – positions which were being immediately filled.

‘Institutions tell us that the majority of their staff understand the financial realities. Rather than ask their members to inflict damage on themselves, their students and their institutions, we feel it is time for UCU to conduct a consultation that enables their members to consider all the elements of the full, fair and final offer that is on the table,’ he added.

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