Fair pay for HE

It’s time to vote on your HE pay offer.

Member consultation

Your higher education employer has made a final offer of a pay rise for 2021/22 which amounts to an increase of 1.5% for the majority of HE staff from 1 August 2021.

Staff on the lower pay points 3 to 21 have been offered increases on a sliding scale, between 3.6% and 1.54%.

The employers have offered joint national work on career development, tackling the gender, ethnic and disability pay gaps, workload management, the impact of COVID, pay spine compression and redeployment, but it’s totally silent on other areas of our claim that have a big impact on your working life.

There’s no two ways about it: this falls far short of the pay claim that the joint unions submitted.

Our claim was for the decent, fair pay rise that HE staff deserve after more than a year of exceptionally hard work and dedication through the pandemic – and through a decade of derisory pay rises. Last year none of us in HE got a pay rise – the employers imposed a pay freeze. Yet without our work, universities would not be able to function.

For all these reasons, UNISON’s higher education service group executive recommends that members reject this pay offer as it falls so far short of the claim.

If you vote to reject this, you need to be prepared to take part in sustained strike action at your university to win a better pay offer.

After too many years of virtually nothing, now it is over to you to cast your vote.

All eligible members will be sent an email with their voting link on Monday 24 May when the consultation opens. If you don’t receive yours, you can vote at this link:

Vote now

FAQs for members

When does the consultation open and how long is it open for?

The consultation opens on Monday 24 May and closes on Friday 18 June.

Is my vote anonymous?

Yes. Our systems are completely secure, and your vote is anonymous. Also, you can only vote once – so we’ll know that the results of the consultation are accurate.

How do I vote?

If we have your email address and permission to email you, you’ll receive an email on 24 May with a personal link to vote. If you don’t receive it, you can vote on this page when the consultation goes live. All you need is your membership number or national insurance number, date of birth and surname.

I don’t seem to be receiving emails from UNISON – how can I check you have the right contact details?

It’s so important that we have an up to date email address, phone number and home address for all our members. That means we can get in touch with you about issues that affect your job, like this pay consultation.

You can check and update your details and the permissions you give UNISON to contact you using MyUNISON. And if you haven’t yet registered on MyUNISON you can register here.

I’m not a member of UNISON – if I join will I get a vote?

Yes. If you join UNISON by Friday 4 June you’ll be sent an email before the consultation closes inviting you to cast your vote.

Why are you running a consultation?

Every year after the national pay negotiations, we ask members for their views on the final offer.

If this consultation delivers a strong vote to reject, that will send a strong message to employers and to the government. And if necessary it means we may be in a position to move to a formal industrial action ballot, in which the government’s Trade Union Act requires 50% of members to respond.

How will the campaign go forward?

A vote to reject the pay offer means that you are prepared to take part in separate, sustained and escalating industrial action at your university. After members have voted and the consultation has closed, the higher education service group executive (SGE) will meet to consider the outcome of the consultation and how to build the campaign alongside our sister unions to secure a better pay deal for everyone in HE. Branches will be kept up to date with developments.

Was the employers’ offer just about pay?

No – the joint union pay claim sought to bring about improvements in workload, career development, pay gaps, casualisation, outsourced workers and setting up devolved HE talks in Scotland.

Whilst the employers have offered some joint work on some of these elements, the higher education service group executive (a committee of the members elected to represent you in UNISON) was disappointed that the offer does not reference a 35-hour working week, HE talks in Scotland or tackling outsourcing.

Resources for branches