Formal dispute lodged with higher education employers

After a clear majority of HE members reject the final pay offer, UNISON wants to bring employers back to the negotiating table

UNISON higher education logo

UNISON’s higher education service group executive (SGE) has lodged a formal dispute with HE employers after the outcome of the pay offer consultation for 1 August 2021.

The pay offer was a 1.5% increase for all members on pay point 22 and above, with staff on the lower pay points between 3 to 21 being offered pay increased on a sliding scale between 3.6% to 1.54%.

Results from the consultation show that a clear majority of members have rejected the employers’ final pay offer.

The SGE has now lodged a formal dispute with the HE employers over the pay offer, and are asking branches that are not currently balloting on the August 2020 pay freeze to consider whether they wish to ballot on the 2021/22 pay offer.

UNISON national officer Ruth Levin said: “Coming a year after the pay freeze that was imposed on higher education, the 1.5% offer falls far short of what staff both need and deserve.

“HE staff haven’t had a pay rise since August 2019 and they’ve worked harder than ever before. University support staff have kept universities going through the pandemic, the technicians, cleaners, pastoral care staff, IT staff and so many more have had such a vital role in keeping universities going all the way through.

“With inflation now above 2%, a 1.5% offer falls short yet again and when last year’s pay freeze is taken into account it is no wonder that our members have rejected this offer.”

UNISON is calling on HE employers to come back to the table and to make a meaningful, improved offer to settle this dispute.

Meanwhile, UNISON is balloting members at 48 higher education institutes this summer in protest against the pay freeze imposed for the past year. The ballots in England and Northern Ireland opened this week and are due to open in Scotland in a few weeks’ time.

Branches will be sent updates next week on how to decide whether to ballot for strike action on the 2021/22 pay offer.