As a result of progress in Acas (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) facilitated discussions, a joint statement has been agreed and released between the UCEA (University & Colleges Employers Association) and the higher education trade unions: EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite.
The statement highlights that progress has been made in discussions around pay, but that an impasse has been reached under Acas’ new dispute procedures.
However, the employer and the unions have agreed to proceed to time-limited talks to determine the further work necessary to resolve the dispute – this will include a review of the pay spine to address issues of grade increments.
UCEA has agreed to consult its members on the issues to be discussed in the time-limited talks, as well as agreeing to consult its members with a positive recommendation to take action on zero-hour contracts.
In recognition of the employer’s stance, UNISON, along with UCU and Unite have agreed to call off industrial action which was due to occur in the weeks commencing 20 and 27 February on the basis that no pay award will be imposed by higher education institutions during that period – EIS and GMB had no action planned before that time.
Work will now continue through Acas conciliation to agree the detailed terms of reference and timescales for these substantive negotiations.