University staff have been protesting this week over an ‘insulting’ pay offer.

They voiced their frustration outside the Arts University Bournemouth campus, holding placards stating “enough is enough” and “if our pay doesn’t rise, we will.”

Cleaners, security workers, administrators and librarians all took to the picket line on Tuesday.

Dorset Echo:

Members of the trade union, UNISON rejected a 1.5 per cent pay offer last August.

They say managers have ignored staff protests and that low-paid employees are still taking home less than £18,000 a year.

Richard Wyn Williams, a technician demonstrator, who was at the picket line said that some staff are now "at a breaking point".

“We’re just asking for what’s fair and what we deserve for our skill set,” he said.

Dorset Echo: Richard Wyn Williams, Technician Demonstrator at Arts University Bournemouth. Richard Wyn Williams, Technician Demonstrator at Arts University Bournemouth. (Image: Newsquest)

The union said that years of under-investment in higher education, coupled with wage freezes, have kept staff pay artificially low.

One worker, who wished to remain unnamed, said that she had to work three jobs to get by.

“I’m a single mum, I don’t have a choice, I have to do it.”

“We’ve been told we should be grateful for what we’ve got, I don’t want the younger technicians to suffer like I do.”

UNISON members are asking for a £1,250 increase to help them cope with soaring prices and inflation.

Staff are also asking for improvements to their terms and conditions including annual leave, pay structures and getting rid of zero-hour contracts.

Andrew Stacey, a part-time Technician, said he is fighting for his rights more so than an increase in pay.

“They see us differently than the academic staff.”

“Rights come first, they are longer lasting and that means more to me than pay.”

Dorset Echo: Andrew Stacey, part-time Technician at Arts University Bournemouth.Andrew Stacey, part-time Technician at Arts University Bournemouth. (Image: Newsquest)

Preeti Sood, a technician demonstrator and union rep said: “Solidarity is everything, we want them to listen to us and to call negotiations.

“Two more strike dates are planned for May and June, but they can still call negotiations at any point.”

Joanne Kaye, the UNISON South West regional secretary, said: “University employees simply can’t afford to live on poverty wages or accept woeful, insulting pay offers.

“It's time for university managers to make a fair offer that provides a living wage to all staff."