Academics walk-out over “seriously unequal” pay and conditions

Tom Richardson 25 May 2016

Disruption is expected today after academics and support staff went on strike, in a dispute over wages and contracts.

The Cambridge branch of the University and College Union (UCU) are joining a nationwide protest after negotiations with the University and College Employers Association (UCEA) broke down over a 1.1% pay offer.

Other issues raised include the gender pay-gap, which according to the UCU stands at 17.4% in Cambridge, the increasing salary of the Vice Chancellor and ‘zero-hour’ contracts.

The strike is expected to affect exams and marking.

Lucy McMahon, a member of the UCU Strike Committee, told TCS: “The disruption is aimed at employers and not students… we have negotiated for months for a fair deal and have met with no success”.

Alleging the spread of “short-term, zero-hour contracts”, she suggested some academics were working for “around £6 pounds an hour”, with wages below the national pay scale despite high living costs in the city.

Industrial action will continue after the strike she said, with staff “working to contract”, and refusing unpaid overtime including marking.

When contacted for comment, the University told TCS that it “has policies and plans in place…to ensure that students are not affected”. It did not comment on the dispute itself.

The walk-out is expected to continue tomorrow.