University staff strike amid wage cut row over marking boycott

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  • June 15, 2023
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niversity staff are on strike after a union claimed their employer said wages will be cut by half in response to a boycott.

Staff at Edinburgh University taking part in the University and College Union’s (UCU) marking and assessment boycott will have their wages deducted by 50%, though management could deduct 100% of earnings, the union said.

Workers on strike on Friday will stage demonstrations in Edinburgh’s Bristo Square, George Square in Glasgow, and outside the university’s Nucleus building.

The UCU also announced there will be more strikes throughout the new academic year, with 10 days of walkouts to take place in September.

In April, the UCU renewed its industrial action mandate, allowing strikes to be called for another six months.

The last thing staff want to do is take industrial action, but over 10 years of pay being held down and worsening conditions has left us with no option

The marking and assessment boycott began on April 20, as the UCU hit out at what it described as “a real-terms pay cut, working conditions including increasing casualisation, pay gaps and unmanageable workloads”.

Edinburgh UCU branch spokeswoman Sophia Woodman said: “Edinburgh University has just under £2.5 billion worth of reserves.

“This university and the sector can afford to pay staff enough to support themselves through this cost-of-living crisis.

“The last thing staff want to do is take industrial action, but over 10 years of pay being held down and worsening conditions has left us with no option.

“Edinburgh principal Peter Mathieson should stop trying to circumvent lawful industrial action short of strike and join the increasing number of vice-chancellors calling for new, meaningful talks to resolve the dispute.

“Our branch is ready and willing to issue a joint statement with our employer calling for the reopening of negotiations.”