STAFF at numerous Scottish universities have voted for industrial action, joining a growing wave of sectors striking over insufficient pay increases amid the soaring cost of living.

Professional services staff – including cleaners, library workers and IT technicians – at Edinburgh Napier, Robert Gordon, Glasgow Caledonian and the University of Glasgow have voted for the action after being offered a 3% pay increase.

Unison, the union representing the workers, stated that imposed pay awards of 0%, 1.5% and 3% given over the past three years failed to keep up with inflation, even with some top-ups for the lowest paid workers.

The union also held ballots at Edinburgh University, Aberdeen University and Heriot Watt, with union members at these universities also voting for strike action. However, they failed to meet the 50% turnout threshold required.

Unison representatives will meet on Monday to discuss the next steps.

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Davena Rankin, branch secretary at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “University professional and support staff have gone above and beyond to support students throughout the pandemic and it’s time they were given the fair pay and recognition they deserve.

“No worker wants to go on strike but the sad reality is that we are struggling to meet household costs and this will only get worse.

“University professional and support staff have suffered years of poverty pay and below inflation pay rises but enough is enough. With the cost of fuel, food and energy all shooting up, we can’t afford anything less than an inflation-busting pay rise and we deserve much better than what the employers have offered.”

Waste and recycling staff in numerous local authorities in Scotland are set for strike action at the end of the month if unions do not accept Cosla’s improved 5% pay rise offer.

Refuse workers in Edinburgh have already begun a planned strike, causing rubbish to pile up in the Scottish capital.

Across the UK postal workers, train staff and barristers are also set for strike action in the coming weeks.

Lorcan Mullen, Unison regional organiser, said: “Even before this cost-of-living crisis, pay inequalities on Scottish campuses were a national disgrace. The universities have – despite the severity of this crisis – imposed yet another pay deal that works as a real-terms pay cut for our members.

“We congratulate our members at four universities for beating thresholds set out in Tory anti-trade union legislation, but bitterly resent the impact of these unjust laws on democratic decisions made in three other institutions.

“We will decide on next steps in the coming days, but university bosses should know their lowest-paid staff are demanding more money and more respect, now.”

A campaign calling on the government to increase the national minimum wage and outline a path to £15 per hour has been backed by RMT union boss Mick Lynch.

The Enough is Enough campaign also calls for the scheduled increase in energy prices in October to be cancelled.