STAFF from Cardiff University manned picket lines today as part of a national walkout after pay negotiations with employers broke down.
Cardiff Central AM Jenny Rathbone addressed a group of about 30 striking lecturers and support staff outside the University’s main building on Park Place.
“The university is making a huge mistake here because a successful organisation has to have a united workforce. It is no use building lots of flash new buildings if the people working in them are going to be feeling dissatisfied and not valued,” she said.
“It’s not sustainable to give pay rises of almost six per cent to your senior people and just one per cent to the rest of the workforce.”
The Cardiff lecturers join members of the University and College Union on strike across the country today and Thursday. The UCU called the action over a 1.1 per cent pay increase offered to staff by the College Employers Association.
The UCU says that university leaders have been given a 5.1 per cent pay increase in 2014/15 while real terms pay for lecturers and staff has fallen by over 14 per cent in real terms since 2009.
Ryan Prout, Cardiff UCU branch president, told the crowd the proposed 1.1 per cent increase had not kept up with inflation. He said: “Going out on strike is not a decision anyone has taken lightly. Every day we work hard across the UK to support, develop and improve the life chances of 2.3 million students.
“No USU member wants to harm our students’ education but we can’t sit back and watch our pay eroded, inequality grow unchallenged and employment become more insecure every year.”
Strikes will continue tomorrow and the UCU has pledged to take further action including a boycott of marking students’ work in the autumn term and strikes which may affect open days, graduation ceremonies and the clearing process.
The UCU says 75,000 university staff are currently on “casualised” contracts with 21,000 on zero-hours contracts while men earn 12.6 per cent more than their female counterparts.