Students and staff have banded together in a solid display of solidarity at a demo which highlighted two separate disputes at the University of Liverpool today (December 3).
Both Unite members, who work in campus support services, and University College Union (UCU) members, also employed in higher education, are in the midst of strike action.
The Unite members — who are responsible for the health, safety and security of the students, staff and car parks, and also serve as first responders in emergencies — are angry at the attacks made on their terms and conditions being imposed by University of Liverpool without appropriate consultation.
These changes have reduced allowances on average by £3,000 per year in regard to time off in lieu, overtime payments, shift allowances and additional responsibility payments.
The Unite members have taken multiple days of strike action since September, in particular railing against the intimidation and bullying of staff at the hands of management, who are bent on pushing the changes through.
In the latest development, Unite regional officer Brian Nelson highlighted an independent investigation which has proved Unite allegations of a culture of bullying by management.
“But so far management have taken no action on this very serious matter,” Nelson said, as he urged senior management to “engage in serious talks aimed at resolving this dispute”.
Unite rep for security support staff Barry Keates also highlighted bullying in his speech at today’s demo:
Meanwhile, Unite regional officer Allan Small sent a message to University of Liverpool management and in particular, the University’s vice-chancellor:
Unite security staff have stood shoulder to shoulder with UCU’s striking members, who are striking over pay, contracts, working conditions, and pensions. The UCU strike is now taking place in dozens of universities across the UK.
‘Different sectors, same struggle’. Brilliant joint rally today with @Unite_NorthWest. Beautiful day to be out demanding an end to management bullying and degradation in conditions ✊#UCUstrike #UCUStrikesBack #LivUniGrad #LivUniStrike pic.twitter.com/5QczX3rlI8
— UoL UCU Official (@ULivUCU2) December 3, 2019
Both Unite and UCU members are determined to stand together in their joint fight against cuts and the privatisation by stealth of higher education.
Unite University of Liverpool support staff may be gearing up for further strikes if management do not come to the table, while UCU members have planned another strike tomorrow after taking seven days of strike action in the previous week, with more walkouts on the horizon.
Stay tuned on UniteLive for the latest on this dispute.
Pics and video: Karen Viquerat