Higher education

UNISON is one of the largest unions in the higher education sector, supporting 50,000 members working in universities.

We represent higher education members employed by universities directly, or who work for a contractor supplying services. These roles include:

  • administration and IT;
  • cleaning, catering and facilities maintenance;
  • technical and laboratory services;
  • security;
  • library and sports centre services; and
  • student union services.

We negotiate nationally and locally to protect pay, terms and conditions and to prevent members from being outsourced to private companies. UNISON representatives help to ensure a safe working environment.

UNISON campaigns for decent pay in universities – including a living wage for the lowest paid – as well as an eradication of the gender pay gap and to stop the use of zero hour contracts and the casualisation of work.

Find out about HE pay

UNISON’s higher education pay ballot result and statement from the Higher Education Service Group Executive

In response to the result UNISON’s Higher education Service Group Executive issued the following statement:

The UNISON Higher Education Service Group Executive is pleased that an overwhelming majority of HE members voted to take strike action in our recent pay ballot. We would like to thank those activists, branches and regions that put in significant work to achieve the result.

Unfortunately and frustratingly the government’s anti-democratic trade union laws, which impose a very high turnout threshold, mean that we are not able to fulfil our members’ wishes. The differing laws that cover the UK also mean that we still await the result of our ballot in Northern Ireland.

Other democratic processes such as the elections of members of parliaments, assemblies and councils see far lower votes, yet it is only trade union ballots that are subject to such a high threshold to make the vote legally valid.

This outcome will only further fuel the anger of our members who face yet another year of a below inflation pay rise. No university should be pay any staff less than the Living Wage and employers should be ashamed that some of their staff are forced to go to food banks.

Next week our HE branch seminar will review the pay campaign, take heart at the positives and build for the next pay negotiations.

This result will inform our approach to next year’s pay negotiations and the employers should be in no doubt that we will again call for action if the HE employers do not meet our aspirations for a fair above inflation pay offer.