Unions call on university employers to improve their pay offer

Latest offer ‘does not meet members’ expectations’ and needs to be improved, joint unions tell UCEA at latesttalks

UNISON and sister university unions are urging employers to improve their pay offer for 2017-18 when the two sides meet again later this month.

Negotiations will continuing between the five unions and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association at the meeting on 27 April.

UNISON, the UCU, Unite, GMB and the EIS met employers yesterday, and the UCEA improved its initial 1.2% pay offer to 1.5% with a 1.8% increase for workers on the lowest pay point. That would mean a minimum £8.40 an hour for those on a 35-hour week.

That movement followed strong representation from the joint unions, but they made it clear to employers yesterday that it still does not go far enough to meet members’ expectations.

The last time HE workers pay rose in line with inflation (RPI) was in 2009-10. Use our salary calculator to find out how much your pay has fallen behind prices since then,

In particular, negotiators pointed out that the current offer doesn’t address the unions’ claim for the living wage (£8.45 an hour, and £9.75 in London) to be the minimum rate in the sector.

“Our members are experiencing rising living costs and telling us very clearly that they are under increasing financial pressure,” said UNISON head of higher education Donna Rowe-Merriman.

“They are already struggling to pay bills from month to month. We will be looking for the employers to make an improved offer at our next meeting.”

Discussions also covered possible joint work on reducing the sector’s gender pay gap, reducing casual work and tackling increased workloads