December 3rd: Speaking today, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said that Students’ Union members at the University of Ulster in Coleraine have provided what he termed “a masterclass in solidarity”. The students today locked themselves into the Senior Common Room at the Coleraine campus in support of the industrial action being taken by staff.
“University employees have been taking industrial action in support of their demands for pay increases in line with inflation, which has been rising year-on-year. The value of pay is now 13 per cent lower than it was four years ago due to sub inflation increases. In that context, the employers’ derisory offer of 1 per cent means that workers will still have suffered what amounts to an effective 2 per cent pay cut for the current year.
“Despite refusing to inflation-proof university salaries, however, the Government insists that student fees should be increased in line with inflation, despite the hardship this will inflict on many students.
“Today’s action by Students’ Union members in Coleraine offers a masterclass in solidarity. Trade unionists need to demonstrate that same solidarity with students as they resist attempts to increase fees – a move which would put a third-level education beyond the reach of many young people in Northern Ireland”, jimmy Kelly concluded.