Fair Pay for the many not the few

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2018 Higher Education Service Group Conference
15 September 2017

Conference notes that members in the Higher Education (HE) sector continue to struggle to make ends meet. There has been a significant change in public opinion on austerity and pay restraint evidenced in the outcome of the general election. Inflation rates have risen sharply over the past 12 months and now stands at 3.7% Retail Price Index (RPI) at June 2017, way above the government’s target figure of 2%. Members are really feeling the pay squeeze after successive years of low wage increases and a noticeable drop in living standards. The last time that pay matched the cost of living was 2008 – a decade ago. Enough is enough. Members are prepared to fight for a fair pay manifesto for the many and not the few. Higher Education workers are demanding a decent pay rise that enables them to live and not just survive from day to day and hand to mouth.

Conference calls on the Higher Education Service Group to:

1)Seek to negotiate a consolidated real terms pay rise on all pay points with a flat rate increase of £1500 or 7.5% whichever is greater.

2)Campaign for all employers to become accredited “Real Living Wage” employers.

3)Campaign for a minimum hourly rate of £10 an hour where the Living Wage Foundation’s “Real Living Wage” is achieved.

4)Campaign to eradicate the Gender Pay Gap in the sector by 2020.

5)Campaign to end the use of exploitative work practices including the use of zero hours contracts in the sector.

6)Campaign to establish a Scottish Sub-Committee of New Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) as set out under the New JNCHES Agreement. The main purpose of the sub-committee would be to deal with matters not currently being dealt with at the New JNCHES Committee.

7)Run a high profile pay campaign with other trade unions to engage members on the need to fight for a substantial increase in pay.

8)Seek to establish national / regional and branch level pay campaign structures, working jointly with the other trade unions if appropriate.

9)In the event that the joint pay claim is not met by the employers, seek to coordinate lawful industrial action in conjunction with fellow Higher Education trade unions, with a clear plan for escalating lawful industrial action to strengthen the campaign, in accordance with UNISON rules relating to industrial action.