Over 400 non-teaching staff at Cambridge are Unite membersMartha Shawyer for Varsity

Non-teaching staff across the University of Cambridge picketed outside Senate House yesterday (02/02), marking the last of three days of industrial action across the University.

Striking workers were joined by multiple student societies as they called for pay negotiations to be re-opened.

Industrial action was escalated last Sunday (29/01) as Unite condemned below-inflation pay offers and demanded a “Cambridge weighting” to deal with the cost of living crisis.

The rally included speeches from representatives from student societies including Cambridge Labour Club (CULC), Cambridge Defend Education and Cambridge SU.

Ian Maidlow, regional officer for Unite, told Varsity: “The university has constantly said that they have no money and they can’t afford any more, we have this week uncovered that they have been economical with the truth in how they report their accounts.”

“What we’re asking for is a Cambridge weighting payment on top of that that reflects and acknowledges the high cost of living in the Cambridge area,” he continued.

Unite claims that their members, many of whom earn below £23,000 a year, are on a wage that “doesn’t put food on the table or pay the bills of essential workers doing vital roles across the university”.

Speaking to Varsity, one member of CULC argued for the importance of student support for striking workers, saying: “I think it’s important that students come out to this because these are the people that really make the things we do special.”


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“I think it’s always appropriate for left-wing people, and people in the Labour party to attend demonstrations of working-class solidarity,” they added.

A University spokesperson told Varsity: “We are committed to open and constructive dialogue with Unite and believe we have responded to their requests for information and financial records in a timely manner. We have held regular meetings with the union, including with the University’s Chief Financial Officer, as well as hosting a recent all-staff meeting on the University’s finances.”

“We have commissioned a pay review which is being progressed as a matter of urgency. A special joint negotiating committee with representatives from all three recognised unions, including Unite, has been constituted to discuss the pay review. We regret therefore that this industrial action looks set to go ahead, but we will make every effort to minimise the impact,” they said.