Staff at universities across Kent stage walkouts in industrial action over pay offer
Staff at universities across Kent are expected to strike today in a row over pay.
Lectures and tutorials could be cancelled as members of the University and College Union (UCU), UNISON and Unite take their first ever coordinated strike action.
Unions claim a 1% pay rise rise offered to lecturers, technicians and administration workers represents a significant real-terms cut in salaries.
Canterbury Christ Church University
It is claimed staff have seen wages effectively reduced by 13% pay over the last five years.
Mike Moran, UCU regional official, said: “Staff at Kent’s universities are angry they’ve had to endure massive pay cuts in recent years.
"This year’s miserly 1% pay offer at a time of rising bills and increased pension contributions, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted.
Canterbury campus of the University of Kent
"We are disappointed the employers are still refusing to sit down with us to try and resolve this without any need for disruption. There are precious few hours left now, but our offer of talks remains open.”
Staff are due to join picket lines from 8am at the Canterbury campuses of the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Creative Arts.
It's the first protest of its kind since academics took action in a row over pensions in 2011 and the first strike specifically related to pay since 2006.
But universities claim it will have a low-level impact on students.
The University of Kent campus in Giles Lane
A Canterbury Christ Church University spokesman said: “The university does not anticipate that it will be significantly affected by the day of action and is therefore advising to treat Thursday as a normal day.
"University facilities including libraries, i-zone helpdesks, catering and other student-facing support services will be open as normal.
"The university is keeping students updated on this situation through its student intranet.”
Both the University of Kent and Greenwich also said they did not know how many staff members would be taking part, but said their Medway campuses would be open as usual.
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