Izzi Vaughan | Editor in Chief
Royal Holloway UCU has recommended a vote to reject the UCEA’S (Universities and Colleges Employers Association) latest offer with regards to their fight for fair pay and improved working conditions. After the UCU called for a minimum wage of £10.50 an hour for staff (with Retail Price Index plus 5%, to account for inflation), an end to the universities gender and ethnicity pay gaps, an end to unreasonable workloads and unpaid labour and an end to insecure employment, the UCEA returned with a pay freeze for staff and no offer regarding casualisation, workloads and pay inequality.
Since 2011 university tuition fees have more than tripled in price, and in that time staff have had minimal wage increase while their pensions have been cut and workloads increased. In real terms staff have faced a pay cut of 20% over the last 10 years, exacerbated by increased and unreasonable workloads resulting in many hours of unpaid labour. ‘Everything went into shiny new buildings and increased Senior Management staffing and pay’, according to members of RHUL UCU’s Branch Committee.
Added to this, staff workloads have increased since the start of the pandemic due to significant layoffs last summer for the financial benefit of the university. RHUL UCU found 43% of staff surveyed in May had faced increased working hours, rising to 86% in November for academic staff and 48% for professional service staff.
Royal Holloway has recently been one of the most frequent users of insecure employment contracts in Higher Education, one of the primary reasons why staff at Royal Holloway faced significant layoffs last summer. Since the start of the pandemic, Royal Holloway staff have faced increased workloads and increasingly insecure employment, exacerbated by a real terms pay cut of 20% over 10 years.
For more information on Royal Holloway UCU’s fight, please visit their blog at royalhollowayucu.wordpress.com and follow their social media sites.