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December 2nd, 2013:

Strike action is on at the University of Southampton

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION (UCU)

PRESS RELEASE

date: Monday 2 December 2013

for immediate release

Strike on at University of Southampton tomorrow

Staff at the University of Southampton will be on strike tomorrow (Tuesday 3 December) as members of the University and College Union (UCU) take action in a row over pay.

Staff will be on picket lines at University Road and Highfield Road in Southampton and will then make their way to a rally at 12.30pm at the Students Union Piazza, Highfield Campus. See map here – http://tinyurl.com/nlgvzsb

At the University of Southampton, staff are particularly angry that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, has seen his salary increase by £66,000 in the past four years*.

In the financial year that ended on 31 July 2012, the Vice-Chancellor’s salary was £277,000, of which £40,000 was a one-off non-pensionable performance payment. Lecturers have highlighted that as stand-alone payments, both Professor Nutbeam’s annual bonus and pension contribution are greater than the annual salary of many lecturers and academics working at the university. A member of the cleaning staff on Grade 1 would have to work nearly three years to earn the equivalent of Professor Nutbeam’s annual bonus or pension contribution.

Lectures will be cancelled across England as lecturers walk out. Following on from a pay offer of just 1% this year from the employer’s representatives Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), staff are angry that as the cost of living has risen, lecturers’ pay has been slashed by more than 13% in real terms since 2009.   

The union’s negotiators have offered to clear their diaries in an effort to resolve the dispute before Tuesday’s strike and the union says it hopes strike action can be avoided. However, UCU added that lecturers were making it clear enough was enough when it came to keeping down their pay.

Eric Silverman, UCU President and Full Time Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, said: “Staff at the University of Southampton have seen their pay slashed in real terms since 2009. This year’s miserly pay offer, at a time of rising bills and increased pension contributions, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And as we can see, those at the top have enjoyed more than generous pay increases.

“Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted. We hope the employers’ representatives will meet with us in an effort to resolve this dispute before Tuesday. Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day’s pay, but lecturers need to take a stand about year on year real terms pay cuts.”

UCU members in colleges will join their colleagues and members of Unison, Unite and the EIS who are on strike in universities across the UK on strike on 3 December. Staff in universities are taking a second day of strike action over a ‘derisory’ 1% pay offer from their employers, which represents a 13% drop in real-terms pay for university staff over five years. More on that dispute here

Ends

*Professor Don Nutbeam was appointed vice-chancellor at the University of Southampton in 2008. He took up his post the following year in 2009.