Higher education unions have submitted a joint pay claim for 2014-15 to the national employers organisation, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).
The claim, submitted by UNISON, UCU, Unite, GMB and EiS, covers two main areas: pay and pay related equality matters, which the unions want to negoatiate concurrently.
The pay claim deals with the rising costs of living for higher education workers and is asking employers to respond to a growing real-terms pay gap that has widened in the last five years.
The unions also want the employers to look at addressing the gender pay gap and support for disabled workers, equality matters that have a direct impact on different groups of workers and lead to inequality.
UNISON, UCU and Unite have taken part in two exploratory meetings with UCEA, ahead of the 2014/15 pay round. One more meeting is scheduled before the first round of pay talks on 26 March.
Members will have received a pay increase for 2013/14 as the higher education employers advised universities to pay the 1% pay offer to staff in January 2014.
This payment was imposed by the employers and it has not settled our dispute, as 1% was a figure rejected by members, who voted to take strike action against it.
While the employers have not moved on the 1%, there has been some small gains.
Since the start of the dispute a number of employers – some of whom had previously refused – have agreed to introduce the living wage.
Bath University is the latest, alongside King’s College and City University in London and Cardiff University.
UNISON branches are continuing to urge those remaining universities that have not yet agreed to implement a living wage to do so.