Poster with the phrase in caps "TOGETHER WE WILL PROVE WE ARE WORTH MORE" With a monochrome cutout photo of UoB strikers beneath, followed by the UNISON logo and a QR code
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Strike action 20, 21 and 22 March – all you need to know

UNISON support staff at the University of Birmingham are due to take three days of strike action this week. At well attended meetings on Thursday, members unanimously backed the committee’s plans for action on the 20, 21 and 22 March.

Members in the meeting expressed frustration at the University’s continuing refusal to engage in negotiations to settle the dispute. The meeting had a determined and optimistic air, with new members speaking of their intention to take action for the first time.

The strike days are for all support / g2-g5 staff. Even if you felt you had to agree to the new contract, you can still take part in the strikes. Improvements we win, whether this is improved terms and conditions or improved rates of pay, will apply to everyone. Support staff can join right up to the strike day and benefit from legal protection for striking as well as strike pay (up to the full salary lost. 

Why are UNISON striking? 

UNISON have asked for reform to the pay spine since 2017. In 2023, after pulling out of these talks, the University imposed new contracts that eroded our terms and conditions. To force staff to sign, the University told staff if they did not sign the new terms within 2 months they would miss out on a bribe of £700. All at the height of the cost of living crisis when lowest paid staff were most vulnerable, and after 14.35 % of real terms pay cuts since 2013. 

We have been petitioning the University to become a living wage employer for years. Their refusal forces the branch to fight every year for our lowest-paid members to earn above the Living Wage Threshold. 

Now that the University has undermined the principle of collective bargaining, all future negotiations are in jeopardy. Since we have been on strike, the University’s “competitive and robust offer” has been outstripped by the real living wage and staff are still struggling to pay their bills. 

Our main worries lie in the push towards flexible contracts with reduced out-of-hours pay, making it cheaper to enforce irregular working patterns and anti-social hours. Our members, many of whom have been a part of the University community for years, are hurt and insulted that the improvements fail to recognise their experience and knowledge. Their decision to undermine our collective bargaining rights is a slippery slope, allowing unfavourable terms and pay offers to be enforced if they do the same in future.

We are on strike for a fair deal, that leaves no-one behind.

What will happen on the strike days? 

On each of the strike days there will be lively and welcoming pickets on each of the entrances at the University’s Edgbaston campus. Supporters are very welcome, along with children, pets, friends and family! There will be music, whistles, horns, drums, crafting, tea, coffee and cakes. 

Here is all you need to know:

  • Picket lines will be running from 6am at key entrances – Grange road (next to Starbucks) and the University station
  • All entrances will have a picket from 7:30am
  • On Wednesday, pickets will run until 12pm with a big rally planned at the University station plaza after this
  • Pickets on Thursday and Friday will finish slightly earlier at 11am
  • Details of which picket to go to will be sent by email, text and WhatsApp – contact us at if you have any questions about this 
  • The picket line at the Guild is a designated quiet picket
  • An accessible / virtual picket is also available for any messages of support you’d like to leave us!

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