Higher ed pay talks open

Joint unions submit pay claim for 2019-20 as negotiations get under way

Higher education unions met university employers today for the start of the 2019-20 pay negotiations.

The unions – UNISON, UCU, Unite, GMB and EIS – represent workers across the higher education sector and throughout the UK.

They presented a joint pay claim to employers at today’s meeting. Its highlights include

  • a minimum pay rise of RPI inflation plus 3%, or £3,349 a year, whichever is greater;
  • a minimum pay rate for directly employed staff across the sector of £10 an hour, and the living wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, for other staff on campus – ie, contracted out staff;
  • restoration of a 3% differential between different points in the sector’s national pay spine;
  • a 35-hour working week for all staff.

The employers with a statement saying they “opened the negotiations, on behalf of the participating universities, with an initial envelope for discussion of 1.3% across all the elements of the pay claim.”

The unions “noted” the employers’ opening position – which they said falls far short of the unions’ claim – and said they are “looking forward to receiving an improved offer which provides a fair pay rise, and addresses all elements of the pay claim,” when talks resume on 11 April.

Download the joint union pay claim


  • Story updated on 28 March to include employers’ opening statement and joint union response.