In solidarity with UNISON

The Defend Education occupation of the Senate Chambers extends its solidarity to those members of staff demonstrating today under the Unison, GMB and Unite trade unions. The occupation recognises the valuable contribution of these staff to the university community, and seeks to express its discontent that this state of affairs that has necessitated direct action in an attempt to encourage negotiations on issues of wages and working conditions.

The demands and aims of the occupation are aligned with those of staff trade unions. that staff have been forced to take a real-term pay cut at the same time as over 100 senior managers (in the UK universities sector) earn ever higher salaries upwards of £100,000 is representative of a gross disparity in wages, provision of a suitable working environment for support staff, and decision making power within the University of Birmingham and wider UK higher education institutions.

The attacks on working conditions and contractual hours of support staff exhibits the contempt with which the university holds its employees, and we fully support the decision taken by Unison to demonstrate today. We stand in solidarity with these staff, and all staff within the university facing attacks on their working conditions, as their job security is paramount to the provision of a high quality education to all students.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, and senior management more widely, have repeatedly refused to negotiate with unions on campus seeking a democratic dialogue, preferring instead to threaten staff and students alike. We call on the University to listen to the demands of their workers, and repeat our call for the living wage to be extended to all employees of the University.

We also urge all non-members of the University reading this to take up the struggle in your workplace and universities. We are stronger if we all fight the interests of profit and capital together.

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