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Queen’s University workers set for two-day strike over pay and pensions


orkers at the Queen’s University Belfast are to take part in a two-day strike over pay and pensions.

Action by the University and College Union (UCU) will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Unite workers on Thursday.

It follows strike action earlier this year as part of an ongoing industrial dispute with management over pay, pensions, and employment practices.

The UCU action is to continue on March 20, 21 and 22 – while the union also has action short of a strike in force continuously.

Unite’s strike action is also set to continue with further strike dates identified in April.

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Professor Sean O’Connell, president of the UCU at Queen’s, said university staff have seen their income in real terms plummet by more than 25% in the past decade.

“University senior managers have recently imposed a further real terms pay cut that will bring that pay decline to approximately 30%,” he said.

“The decline in our pay has been accompanied by soaring financial reserves in the UK higher education sector.

“Queen’s has financial reserves of over £700 million and the sector as a whole has billions in reserve.

“The money is there to provide a real pay increase to university staff and we will continue taking action until the university vice chancellors make that happen.”

Unite regional officer Joanne McWilliams called on management to deliver a pay increase for her union’s members, which includes large numbers of administrative, library, technician and bar staff at the university.

“Despite the fact that Queen’s has huge and growing financial reserves, it remains a low-pay employer,” she said.

“Many of our members working for the university are on pay rates at or little above the minimum wage. In a recent survey of our members at Queen’s, one in five said that they had been forced into reliance on food banks. This is just not acceptable.

“The offer on the table is considerably below the current rate of inflation and offers no protection for the lowest paid in what is the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

“The size of the increase for those at the bottom of the pay scale is less than half that at the top. Our members are determined to win a decent pay increase and respect from this employer.”

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