The first of what may well be a series of strikes by academic staff took place last month. The UCEA which negotiates our pay awards blathers on about a fair pay award, as employers are wont to do these days. It cites the lowest inflation measure, CPI, to justify the piffling 1.1% offer as a figure higher than inflation. Well, the UCEA people might be stupid, but we know that RPI is 1.4%, the figure that includes housing costs — and we all live in those. So once again we are fighting to prevent a further drop in our real pay. VCs, natch, don’t have to worry about this: expect another significant pay increase for them.
Meanwhile at Kingston University, management is keeping the screws on. Ian Breese blew a chill wind to the staff in an email asking all potential strikers to inform him of their intentions, even though staff are under no obligation to do such a thing. One can imagine all the silent F-offs from offices around KU. No doubt this missive is an order from higher up, Morley’s-Ghost, or Ratty himself. The usual play-arsing with numbers goes on too, implying that hardly anyone wants to strike or get a decent pay rise. The email contains another blunt threat too. Working to contract, in the eyes Kingston’s management, means doing what we’ve always done “through custom and practice and the duties of cooperation and faithful service that are implied in all contracts.” So according to management’s saps HR, we can take no action at all to put a stop to the decay in our working conditions and pay.
The nightmare spreads. This time next year we could be looking at a still smaller university, out of the European Union, with Boris Johnson in charge here, Trump in America. Grim times indeed.