Pay and the Impact on Black Staff

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2018 Higher Education Service Group Conference
21 September 2017

Conference notes that staff, particularly Black staff have seen their living standards fall in recent years and many earn less than the living wage.

A Trade Union Congress (TUC) report conducted in 2016 showed that Black workers face a “massive pay gap” which widens as they achieve more qualifications.

The research by the TUC suggested there was a 23% gap in hourly pay between Black and white university graduates. Black people with A-levels were paid 14% less on average than white workers with equivalent qualifications, while those with General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs) faced a deficit of 11%.

The TUC analysed figures from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey and found Black workers with a degree were paid £4.30 per hour less on average than white graduates and staff from all Black backgrounds faced a 10% pay deficit at degree level, rising to 17% for those with A-levels alone.

In addition and Freedom of Information (FOI) request was sent to 148 universities and colleges in December 2015 informing a Survey of Pay in Higher Education report (22.6.16), which was used to help inform the motion for pay in the Higher Education Conference 2016.

Conference these are very worrying findings. Black people face a massive pay gap, even if they attempt to address this by attaining qualifications and academic degrees.

This is not about education, but about the systemic disadvantages Black workers face in the UK.

This we believe might be fueled by so-called “unconscious bias” which in reality is ingrained, institutional and insidious racism.

Conference, the National Black Members Committee (NBMC) is aware that the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) negotiates pay for staff in universities and that UNISON continues to lobby the government for a fair pay system. However, pay settlements in recent years have been slow. It is many years since staff in Higher Education received a pay increase which was equal to the rate of inflation.

Conference therefore asks that the critical issue of Black staff facing a massive pay gap in comparison to non-Black staff is highlighted and calls upon the Higher Education Service Group Executive to:

1)Highlight this pay discrimination to JNCHES so that they can initiate remedial discussions with HEIs;

2)Provide update on the actions taken in response to the Survey of pay in HE document dated 22.06.16;

3)To work with the NBMC to ensure that Branches in HE are effectively monitoring their Institution’s, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report and feedback to their Regions for action.