New deal for low-paid staff at Newcastle University

Staff at Newcastle University will soon be paid a minimum of £7.35 an hour after successful negotations between UNISON and the university saw a local deal is to boost the pay of the lowest paid staff.

More than 400 people will receive a pay rise, the majority part-time female staff. The increase, effective from 1 August 2015, will see the minimum pay rate rise to £14,542 a year. This will mean no member of staff will be paid less than £7.53 an hour.

This deal is separate from the national pay award currently being negotiated between UCEA and the higher education unions, which means the low-paid members will see another increase when the national pay award is settled, due to take effect on 1 August 2015.

A joint statement issued by the university and unions states:

“Our people are central to our ambitions of raising the bar as a World Class Civic University – so recruitment and retention of the best people and recognition of the role we all play is essential.  We believe that enhancing the employment package in this way will help the University to achieve its ambitions.” 
Bob Marchant, UNISON area organiser, said: ”UNISON welcomes the move by the university to increase the pay of its employees. Unfortunately, by the university not taking the opportunity to reach agreement on pay progression through the discretionary points on the scale, many staff will still be earning significantly below the current living wage.
“Our campaign for a living wage is affordable. Between 2013 and 2014, the university had a ‘surplus’ after tax of £30.3 million, a rise of 65.6% on the previous year.”
He added: “UNISON is acutely aware of the existing pay disparities at the university, with 112 staff paid in excess of £100,000 a year. UNISON will continue to campaign for the full introduction of the living sage at the university and for improved pay progression.”