EPSU calls on UK's higher education employers to pay decent wages and return to negotiations

(29 October 2013) EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Trade Unions, supports the strike called by Unison, UNITE and UCU. Thousands of support staff in UK's higher education will take national strike action over pay on 31 October 2013. Workers are demanding that employers pay a decent wage after 5 years in which they have paid below cost of living pay increases leaving workers with a very real cut in wages of 13%. Work pressure has increased with more students in classes. And the employers are sitting on a cash surplus of well over £1bn. Across the UK terms and conditions are being eroded while job insecurity is increasing. The lowest paid members of Unison for example have lost between £663 and £1,173 a year with higher paid staff losing even more. Over half of the vice chancellors earn over £242,000 per year and that this is over £100k more than the Prime Minister. The highest paid employee in higher education receives more than £500,000 a year. So there is money available for those at the very top. Meanwhile over 4,000 employees are paid below the Living Wage. Employers and governments across the EU have forced pay freezes and cuts on public service workers as part of their austerity policies; this leaves workers and their families with less money to take home and impacts negatively on economic growth. Inequalities are rising. Workers across the EU are protesting against employers and governments that make workers pay for the financial and economic crisis caused by the run-away banking system. Unions are planning actions in Greece (6th), Italy (14th), Spain (23th) Netherlands (30th) for example. These actions are part of a European mobilisation to seek a change of direction, away from wage cutting and towards decent pay and conditions.

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