Yesterday we held three meetings with large numbers of members where we considered an offer from the University of:
A 1% one off payment, based on salary at 31st July, with a minimum payment of £100 *IF* we call off the dispute altogether
They would pay 2% for the 2019 settlement on the 1st of August and combine this with talks on pay spine revision, aiming to finish this by the end of August
They would match the living wage for 3 years and enter into talks on accreditation
They offered talks on the gender pay gap
Members overwhelmingly rejected this offer, seeing it as too little at this point to call off our action – so the strike on the 16th and 17th July is still going ahead.
Why did we reject?
When UNISON members at UoB voted to take strike action in May 2019 we were at the end of a long process of appealing to the university for better pay and conditions. Despite management’s claims to the contrary, we have always been open to fair and frank discussions – and we have constantly sought to negotiate in order to secure for our members, and the wider university community, fair pay and a decent working environment. The strike of 28th June took place because nothing else has worked and we believe in the justice of our claims.
Now the university management has made a number of vague offers, uncosted with no real timescale and includes a one-off ‘bonus’ of 1% of annual salary. For some of our lower paid members this equates to about £8 a month (before tax!). To be honest, I’ve tried this trick with my Jack Russell, distracting him with a cheesy nibble in order to get him off the sofa. It doesn’t work with a pet and it won’t work with us – how do you imagine that your staff who claim universal credit and family tax credits will be affected by this one-off insult of a bribe – or perhaps you didn’t realise that your wages are so low that HM Government has to supplement it to help keep families afloat.
Our campaign “Real Birmingham Heroes” is not meant to single out our academic colleagues – we think they are wonderful. But our striking is our only way of reminding you that making this university a success is a team effort. The unions are united, the staff are united and we are calling for a proper response to our demands – a fair pay structure, fairness for women, Living Wage Accreditation. These are reasonable demands and we want to drag you up to a higher basic standard than ‘we would like to pay you less, but it’s against the law’.
We deserve better.