THREATS by the University of Bolton to dock a day’s pay for two-hour strike action did not stop academics from again walking out in an on-going dispute over pay.
About 12 lecturers, supported by some students, fighting for “fair pay” took part in the second two hour strike action yesterday — despite having already having lost a day’s wage last week for stopping work for just a couple of hours.
University of Bolton is just one of a handful of universities to have withheld a day’s pay from lecturers taking part in the national action called by the University College Union (UCU).
Damien Markey, secretary of the local branch of the UCU, said: “We are still being told by management that they are withholding a day’s pay for the two hour strike which means we are part of the 20 per cent of UCU members who are having their pay withheld.
“It is the belief of this branch that this escalation on the part of the management is part of their hardline approach and will unfortunately lead to further disruption for students. The UCU is legally challenging this withholding of pay.
“Lecturers have received only a one per cent pay rise for the last four years.
“This is the biggest picket we’ve had yet and we’ve been pleased with the support.” Civil engineering student Hudhaifah Patel said: “We definitely support them, these guys deserve better pay.”
The UCU says the one per cent pay offer means their members have faced a 13 per cent pay cut in real terms since October 2008. Mr Markey called on employers to “engage in meaningful talks on pay, equality and disability issues”.
A University of Bolton spokesman said: “The university, as recommended by Universities and Colleges Employers Association, is intending to implement the one per cent nationally set pay award for 2013.
“The university is mindful of an employee’s right to protest. The university will not accept any partial performance of duties in a working day, which a two hour strike is, as it is detrimental to its students.”
He added: “The university, made all academic staff aware that in the event they participate in the strike it will withhold pay for the entire day.”
“The university has sought to mitigate any inconvenience that may be caused to students as a result of this one day strike action and any adverse impact this may have on their experience.”