Academics, technicians and support staff look ready to approve all-out strike action across the old and new university sectors this autumn, according to initial union soundings. And early November is emerging as a likely time for the first strikes.
The main higher education unions say that branch-level consultations show a significant proportion of members in favour of strike action in protest at funding cuts and at the 1.5 per cent pay offers for lecturers, administrators and technicians and the 2.5 per cent offered to ancillary staff.
The Association of University Teachers, National Association of Teachers in Higher and Further Education, Manufacturing Science and Finance union and Unison all report a groundswell of opinion in favour of action including strikes.
Unions consulted branch members prior to any official ballots on industrial action. They are now bringing membership lists up to date ready for the balloting process.
Natfhe spokeswoman Brenda Kirsch said: "The date being mooted by Natfhe for industrial action is around November 19 but we are discussing this with the other unions."
Unison executives will be discussing the result of the pre-ballot consultations on September 6 and AUT is to hold a special council meeting on September 18 to finalise balloting arrangements.
Meanwhile, AUT is stepping up its campaign on workloads amid fears that lecturer redundancies will result in the same amount of work being shared among fewer members of staff.
The AUT is encouraging members to push for individual institutional agreements on workloads which, it says, may involve a relatively simple acknowledgement of the amount of work being done by individual lecturers.