Around 1,000 staff in four Scottish universities and four colleges will take strike action at the beginning of the new academic year.

Unite announced recently its members had backed industrial action at University of Glasgow, Dundee University, Abertay University, Edinburgh Napier University and Strathclyde University.

It has now been revealed that around 100 of the union's members at Ayrshire College, Dumfries and Galloway College, West College Scotland, and New College Lanarkshire will also walk out.

Staff who will walk out include technicians, cleaners, security officers, and janitors.

Read More: Mass school closures expected as staff vote for 'strongest ever' strike action

In the four universities there will be five days of action across a two-week span, with staff to walk out on September 13-15 and then September 18 and 19.

Strike dates are yet to be confirmed at Edinburgh Napier University where there is also a mandate for action.

Ayrshire College staff will strike on 7 September and 19 September, Dumfries & Galloway College on 7 September and 21 September, West College Scotland on 7 September and 18 September and New College Lanarkshire on 7 September and 11 September.

The Herald:

It was announced last week that from September 7 college lecturers who are members of the EIS-FELA will begin their own strike action.

A rolling programme of strikes will take place with two colleges taking strike action each day for twelve days.

In addition support staff in colleges across Scotland who are members of Unison including librarians, IT specialists, technicians, administrative and business support staff, cleaners, canteen workers and estate management staff will take action of their own on September 7.

Read More: College support staff to strike in Scotland next week over pay and conditions

Colleges where Unison has a mandate to take strike action are: City of Glasgow College, Edinburgh College, Fife College, Glasgow Clyde College, West College Scotland, North East Scotland College, Glasgow Kelvin College and Ayrshire College.

Unite regional officer Alison Maclean said: “Students and staff have endured too much disruption to their learning and working experience over the last few years due to Covid.

"The imminent disruption to universities and colleges across Scotland during the first few weeks of the new academic term is deeply disappointing.

"However, our members have been left with no other choice but to take a stand. We would encourage those who control the purse strings to make improved wage offers before any action takes place.”  

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Around 1,000 Unite members across four universities and four colleges will take strike action because their employers do not value them enough to make a fair wage offer. Unite will not tolerate the imposition of any pay offers, never mind a real terms pay cut.”

“Any disruption to students will be on the heads of those running the pay bodies, colleges and universities, who incidentally are not suffering any cost-of-living crisis. Unite will fully support our higher and further education members in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Raj Jethwa, UCEA's Chief Executive said: “It is disappointing that Unite has announced strike dates for September for its members at four universities in Scotland at the start of the new academic year. It is important to remember that the union failed to achieve a mandate at a further five universities where it held a ballot.

“UCEA continues to wait for a response to our proposal, made on 4 August, for Acas-facilitated talks on the important pay-related matters raised by Unite and the other four unions.

“Despite UCEA’s proposals, rather than engaging constructively, Unite is pressing ahead with industrial action in four of Scotland’s universities.

“UCEA’s proposal includes reform of the pay spine, action to further reduce pay gaps, discussions on workload and more work on the use of contract types. Alongside the now agreed independent review of sector finances, this is a substantial package of joint work which employers and unions could usefully be progressing together.

“While UCEA respects the right of workers to take industrial action, Unite must be honest with its members about the fact that while any further pay uplift in the 2023-24 pay round is not possible, there is still much more to negotiate and progress that is vital to trade unions and employers alike.”

Gavin Donoghue, Director of College Employers Scotland, said: “It is disappointing that Unite has announced strike action involving around 100 support staff across four colleges. These colleges will now seek to put in place measures to mitigate the effects of any proposed action on their students’ education.

“College Employers Scotland provided a full and final pay offer to all support staff trade unions (UNISON, Unite and GMB) in June for a cumulative £3,500 pay rise.

“Employers have requested support staff unions take this pay offer to their members for a formal ballot, as it would equate to an average 11% pay increase, and an average increase of 14% for those paid under £25,000.

“We hope Unite calls off these strikes so colleges can continue to provide the world-class learning experience that students rightly expect and deserve.”