University “disappointed” by staff strike over pay dispute

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The University has said that it is “disappointed” by the decision by the three staff unions – the University and College Union (UCU), Unison and Unite – to go on strike next week.

Staff will take industrial action on Thursday 31 October because of a dispute over pay. They have been offered a one per cent pay rise this year but because this is below inflation it is a pay cut in real terms. This follows several years of pay rises below inflation. In real terms, staff pay has fallen by 13 per cent in the last four years.

In a letter to all members of staff the University’s director of human resources, Mairi Stewart, said: “The University is naturally disappointed at the call for strike action. Depending upon the choices made by individual UCU, Unison and Unite members, there may well be some disruption to teaching and services.”

Ms Stewart went on to explain what will happen to those members of staff who choose to go on strike. She said: “The University also regrets that in these situations it is legally obliged to make clear the consequences of action. A decision to take part in strike action and not fulfil all normal duties will lead to the withholding of 100% of salary for each day, including any part thereof, of action. Each day will be calculated at 1/260th of annual salary. The withholding of pay is without prejudice to any other right or remedy of the University, including any claim for damages for breach of contract. It is not expected that this will materially serve to reduce the disruption experienced by students, but the University will contribute all withheld pay to a hardship fund for students.”

She concluded: “The University takes no pleasure whatsoever in this situation and it very much hopes that a national agreement will soon be reached on the issues of dispute.”

Earlier this week, the Students’ Representative Council voted to support the strike action. In an email to all students, Students’ Association president Chloe Hill said that both she and the Association “believe that staff welfare is as important as student welfare, and a possible disruption for one day is better than the possible long-term disruption caused by staff worrying about finances.” There will be a meeting on Monday 28 October at 1 pm in School 3, St Salvator’s Quad to provide information to those who are interested in supporting the strike.

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