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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbria university staff to join second one-day strike

University staff in north Cumbria will join colleagues across the country in a second one-day strike.

UNISON, Unite and University and College Union (UCU) will take action tomorrow to show employers that they are serious about not accepting further cuts.

A UCU spokesman told the News & Star that up to 340 members could take action across north and west Cumbria. Higher education staff have seen their incomes fall by 13 per cent in recent years, while universities have an operating surplus of more than £1bn, UNISON claims.

Theresa Griffin, the union’s north west lead for higher education, said: “The first strike on October 31 sent a clear message to employers that we are serious about not accepting further cuts to our members’ standard of living.

“The strike action called-for shows that we are prepared to pursue sustained action.

“Working people are fed up of having their standard of living cut when there is plenty of money for those at the top.

“Fair pay in higher education is both affordable and long overdue.”

The day of industrial action will be the second in just over a month, after an earlier strike on October 31.

Picket lines were formed outside campuses including Brampton Road in Carlisle. At the time, unions said that the squeeze on staff pay was coming at a time when pay and benefits for university lecturers had increased significantly.

A University of Cumbria spokeswoman said that the first strike caused minimal disruption, with no campus closures and only one lecture cancellation. She continued: “Some UCU and UNISON members locally may support industrial action scheduled for tomorrow, to demonstrate the strength of their feelings on the current national pay negotiations.

“The university has always enjoyed good local relations with the unions and in advance of the planned day of action, the university will do all it can to minimise the impact any industrial action may have on its services and students.”

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