The UoB UNISON committee has decided to call a strike day for Thursday 17 August. This is A-level results day and when the University will be undertaking “clearing” activity related to student recruitment. This was not a decision we take lightly. We’ve expanded on our reasoning below and you can read more about all of this on our strike and dispute FAQs.
Plans for the strike day will be confirmed by members at all members meetings on Monday 17 August – details have been sent to all members. If you’ve not received them drop us an email at email@example.com.
No to the bribe. Don’t sign away our future
As a Branch, we join our colleagues across campus in celebrating the successes of this years A level students, and future University of Birmingham students. We wish every student the best of luck, and for those who choose UoB, you can expect to find a supportive and united community of staff and students who care about their campus and city.
Whilst we are proud to be a part of the University of Birmingham community, we feel we need to make everyone aware of the problems beneath the University’s impressive façade. Staff are underpaid and using food banks, and now staff are striking to bring about the change they desperately need.
The basis of our dispute
University management are determined to cut staff working rights and bend contracts to their favour, by offering incentivised deals to each and every support staff member individually. They are using a one-off payment (up to £700) to tempt staff into signing new contracts individually, with worse terms and conditions- just for the market rate of pay they acknowledged they should have been paying all along. Staff who don’t agree to the new contracts will not be awarded the payment and will be left facing a hefty real terms pay cut. After years of pay erosion followed by the sting of the cost-of-living crisis, our members felt they had no choice but to stand together and say no to the offer, and no to the bribe.
In July our UNISON branch announced the result of a ballot on pay spine changes, with an impressive 54.99% turnout, the YES vote to strike action was 89.63%. This is a clear message that University management need to improve their offer.
UNISON remains open to negotiations with management and ACAS mediation to find a solution that benefits everyone. We are however deeply concerned with the university’s decision to contact staff individually to pressure them to accept changes to their individual contractual terms and conditions. This circumnavigates our collective bargaining agreements and undermines the role of trade unions at the university.
How the dispute formed
Our page on pay spine changes covers some of the background of the changes and the nature of UNISON’s concerns.
We are concerned that these changes could be a “slippery slope”, with the reduced rates of pay allowing the University to push staff to work more unsocial hours in the future, as they’ve proven a desire for recently in departments such as cleaning and catering, where members have been pushed onto more flexible contracts.
Also, it would give the University license to continue offering individual agreements, resulting in hugely disparate groups of staff on different contracts and a much easier way for the University to impose unfavourable terms on staff in future.
UNISON members remain united and are currently exploring potential strike action over the next 3 months. To find out more please visit our website & social media channels: unisonbhamuni | Twitter, Instagram, Facebook | Linktree