Our Higher Education Pay Offer strike ballot has gone out to all members. Here are some frequently asked questions and responses.
There’s a cost of living crisis affecting everyone, isn’t this a bad time to demand more pay and go on strike?
Not at all, there’s never been a better time to demand more pay.
The cost of living increase is impacting workers across the country, this is why it’s important to use our power as union members to take action, including withdrawal of our labour, where necessary.
Along with staff in lots of other sectors, Higher Education staff have had real terms pay cuts continuously since 2009 – it’s time to take a stand and tell our employers that we deserve better. You can find out how much you’ve lost since 2009 here.
I can’t afford to take strike action, is there any help for this?
Yes – UNISON have confirmed they will be paying strike pay of up to £50 per day (or lower, if your loss of pay is lower) to all members who need this.
Our branch also has an Industrial Action fund that can be paid to all staff who are suffering hardship as a result of strike deductions, this is up to £70 per day.
Details of how to apply will be confirmed, in plenty of time, if we vote to go on strike.
Haven’t the University of Sheffield already agreed to raise our wages with the Grade Boundary changes? Why are we balloting?
UNISON and the other campus Trade Unions raised issues around the Grade Boundaries with the University, who agreed to work through the negotiations, and we were pleased with the outcome of these discussions.
Whilst the University was able to agree to, and implement changes to where our grades lie within the spine, the spine itself is negotiated nationally in the talks with UCEA and we cannot change this locally.
The National Pay offer is well below inflation level, without even considering that we have taken real terms pay cuts since 2009. Even combined with the Grade Boundary uplifts implemented locally, most staff will not have a pay increase close to the level of inflation.
Will taking strike action impact on the Grade Boundary changes?
No – The University will be implementing the grade boundary uplift regardless of whether we vote to strike or not. They and the Campus Trade Unions are very clear that these are two separate matters, the national pay offer is subject to a dispute whereas the local negotiations have concluded with an agreement.
I’m not a UNISON member, can I take part?
Only UNISON members can vote in the ballot, but please do join by 11st August 2022 to have your say, and the ballot papers will be posted to you when you join.
When does the ballot close?
The ballot will close on Friday 26th August but we recommend posting yours back as soon as possible.
I’ve lost or not received my ballot paper, what can I do?
Call the ballot hotline as soon as possible on 0800 0 857 857
They will verify your membership and arrange for a new ballot to be sent to you.
The hotline will open on 28 July 2022 and will close at 5pm on
18 August 2022.