UNIVERSITY workers at 10 institutions around Scotland will be balloted for strike action as part of a dispute over pay.

The trade union Unite is balloting its members following a dispute over the 2023/24 pay award.

They have rejected a pay award of between 5% and 6%, saying staff have had many years of below-inflation pay increases.

The universities affected are: Aberdeen, Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian, Glasgow School of Art, Dundee, Abertay, Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University.

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Workers will receive ballots from July 17 and the voting will close on August 21.

Lecturers, who are represented by the University and College Union, are also engaged in a pay dispute with the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

It means there could be co-ordinated strikes when students return after the summer break.

Unite regional officer Alison Maclean said: “This latest imposition is a further slap in the face for our members across Scotland’s universities when UCEA can clearly afford to pay more.

“Other unions in the sector are also planning action, so the employers need to take seriously the very real possibility of co-ordinated strikes taking place at the start of semester one in Scotland.

“The fault for this lies entirely at UCEA’s door.

“Unite calls on UCEA to get back to the negotiating table, our members and all university students deserve so much more.”

At the universities, Unite represents a number of roles including technicians, estates staff, caterers, janitors and security staff.

In response to Unite’s ballot, UCEA’s chief executive Raj Jethwa said: “It is disappointing that Unite members in 10 higher education institutions in Scotland have been asked to vote for industrial action over the 2023-24 pay uplift put in place five months ago.

“The joint trade unions side has been invited to exploratory talks with UCU for this Friday, July 14.

“This is a potential opportunity to find a way to resolve the long-running current dispute and bring an end to the UCU’s marking and assessment boycott.”

He said that despite financial pressures on universities, the recent pay uplift was comparable to settlements in the wider economy.

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Jethwa added: “UCEA is fully committed to working with the trade unions on the implementation of the terms of reference to positively reset industrial relations in our sector and negotiated terms of reference for talks on pay-related issues at Acas in the spring.

“These offer an opportunity to address some important issues, building on the extensive good practice which already exists in the sector.”