University of Bristol staff ‘overwhelmed’ by support shown on picket lines during three-day pay strikes

Cleaners, administrators, library, catering and security workers have taken part in the UoB strikes

Staff at the University of Bristol say it is likely they will return to take industrial action after strong support for their three-day protest, this week.

Picket lines have been dotted around the city centre since Monday (September 26) in protest to a below-inflation pay rise offer, described as ‘ludicrously low’.

Trade Union, UNISON confirmed that more than 20 universities would take action after staff were offered a 3% pay rise against a close-to-10% rise in inflation.

UNISON head of education, Mike Short said: “Low pay has been a massive problem for the university sector for over a decade.

“Staff have become experts at stretching their pay to make ends meet. But the shock of the cost-of-living crisis has pushed many to breaking point.

“It’s always a very difficult decision to strike but staff feel they’ve been left with no choice. A 3% pay award is nowhere near enough and the employers know it. This ludicrously low increase does nothing to ease the financial pressures for thousands of struggling staff.”

Cleaners, administrators, library, catering, and security workers have taken part in the UoB strikes which have been supported by groups of students.

UNISON’s South West representative, Joanne Kaye told Bristol World the support had been ‘overwhelming’.

She said: “The picket lines have been incredibly strong across the city, and the support from students and the public has been overwhelming.

“With the Tories in power, the cost-of-living crisis isn’t going away anytime soon and without a significant shift from the employer, it’s likely we’ll see strike action continuing at Universities across the South West.”

‘Honk for a pay rise’ signs held at the UoB picket line.

UoB stated that it respected its union workers’ right to strike, adding that it had caused anxiety for ‘many’ of its students.

A statement read: “We respect the right of our union member colleagues to act where they feel strongly about the issues that affect them.

“We also appreciate that the dispute will cause anxiety for many of our students and their families.

“We are doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of industrial action on your student experience.”

Today (September 28) marks the last day of this planned industrial action.