Edinburgh University students in occupation in support of education workers’ strike

Over 40 students at the University of Edinburgh are holding a sit-in protest in the office of the University’s Finance Director, demanding the University increase staff pay.

University staff are set to go on strike tomorrow (Tuesday) in a dispute over pay following a 4 year pay freeze, amounting to a 15% pay cut in real terms.

One of the occupiers, Kirsty Haigh, who is also Vice-President of Edinburgh University Students’ Association said “Edinburgh University – and the university sector generally – has plenty of money. We see this every day with millions going on vanity projects and senior managers pay. We are calling on the University to see sense and give staff the pay they deserve.”

“University staff have had a real term pay cut of 15% and this is not acceptable. While the Principal earns £227,000 staff have been forced out on strike to demand the wage they deserve. We demand that the University listens to the trade unions and increases staff pay.”

Last week, the Students’ Association sent a letter to all staff “actively encouraging them to take strike action”. The letter stated that “in the short term this will indeed affect our education, but the long term benefits are significantly vaster. It is critical that students and staff struggle collectively.”

Tomorrow’s strikes follow an earlier day of walk-outs on the 31st of October, which saw the National Union of Students and Students’ Associations across Scotland coming out to show support for their staff, resisting what they said were attempts by management to ‘divide and rule’.

The occupation follows on from similar actions at Birmingham and Sussex Universities protesting the outsourcing of staff and course closures.

Notes:

The Finance Director’s office is in Charles Stewart House on Chambers Street.

The students are demanding the University:
– Uses its weight and influence to argue for real-terms increases in university staff pay.
– Reduces the pay ratio between the lowest paid and the highest paid staff in the university to 10:1.
– Commits not to sanction participants of the occupation.

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