The two meetings required of the dispute resolution procedure clause of the New JNCHES Agreement took place between members of the UCEA negotiating team and representatives of EIS, UCU, UNISON and Unite on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 May.
During the dispute resolution meetings the unions and employers discussed a wide range of issues. The employers emphasised the real value of the final pay offer as well ahead of inflation and providing increases of 1.6% or more to 45,000 staff employed on the lower pay points.
During the second dispute meeting, the employers modified one minor aspect of the final offer, in relation to the date by which spine point one would be removed. The offer (document dated 19 May 2016) now commits HE employers to delete spine point 1 by 1 April 2017:
The final pay offer on base pay set against prevailing inflation indices was discussed.
April 2016 inflation figures
This chart compares this year’s final offer with the 2014-15 settlement against prevailing inflation indices:
The National Statistician’s concerns over RPI were discussed and his letter to Sir Andrew Dilnot was presented and UCEA explained its current multiple index approach given the weaknesses with all the current measures:
The final pay offer which, with progression and contribution pay for around half the employees covered, results in an average sector increase totalling 2.7% was compared to the current base and merit increases in the private sector - 2.5% in the last quarter – and public services increases mainly capped at 1%:
The real terms decline in earnings since the 2008 recession was discussed as an issue that has hit the whole UK:
The real terms decline for HE staff set against professions across the whole UK economy since 2009 was discussed:
The way in which HE earnings have kept up over recent years and maintained their lead over wider economy comparators was discussed, with some of the latest 2015 data presented:
Following the conclusion and the announcement of the result of UCU’s statutory ballot on industrial action on the 4 May, the trade union gave notice of industrial action in the form of a two-day strike on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May, as well as action short of a strike (ASOS) in the form of working to contract from 25 May.
Following UCU’s announcement, UCEA also received notifications from EIS, UNISON and Unite that they too reject the final offer and wished to invoke the New JNCHES dispute resolution procedure. Each of these three unions announced consultation with their members with recommendations to reject and seeking members’ views on support for industrial action to seek to improve the outcome. GMB announced that it is consulting its members on rejecting the final offer but it is not entering the dispute resolution procedure.
On Thursday 28 April, the employers’ made a final offer for the 2016-17 pay round, of 1.1% on all points, with higher uplifts to the lower points on the national pay spine, as follows:
* Spine point 1 is to be deleted within 8 months of implementation of the pay settlement (effective increase for individuals after the deletion will be 5.1%).
The final offer also includes joint work on gender pay gaps and on casual and hourly-paid staff. The full offer document is available to download:
In addition, the employers confirmed that the trade unions' claim for a Scottish sub-committee would not be taken forward. A fuller paper was given to the trade unions on 27 April, explaining this position:
On Thursday 14 April UCU opened a ballot of its members for industrial action, to run until 4 May. The UCU’s move to a dispute, over UCEA’s opening offer made at the first negotiating meeting, goes against the New JNCHES procedures agreed by all parties; the New JNCHES Agreement provides for a dispute being called only when progress through normal negotiations has been exhausted. The further agreed negotiating meetings for this 2016-17 round are due to take place on 28 April and 19 May.
UCEA’s media release UCEA responds to UCU's premature and damaging move to ballot for industrial action can be found in the news section of our website.
On Thursday 31 March UCEA received a letter from UCU (copied to the other four trade unions) seeking to lodge a New JNCHES procedural dispute and to invoke the New JNCHES dispute resolution procedure.
UCEA considers that this request should be refused, as no grounds have been given for the dispute and scope for progress through normal negotiations has not yet been exhausted (as required within the New JNCHES Agreement). UCEA’s response to UCU was sent on Friday 1 April.
Both letters can be found below.
The employers' opening offer was tabled at the New JNCHES negotiating meeting held on 22 March 2016. The document is available to be downloaded.
The employers' statement ahead the 2016-17 negotiations was submitted at the negotiating meeting on 22 March, outlining the context within which this year's negotiations are taking place. The statement can be dowloaded below.
This list is correct as at 6 April.
Papers submitted at the first negotiating meeting on 22 March 2016:
The pay claim submitted to UCEA on 11 March can be found below.
The parties to New JNCHES are scheduled to meet on the following dates for the 2016-17 negotiations:
We held an initial meeting of exploratory talks with the five trade unions on 15 March 2016, but this was not a negotiating meeting.
Preparation for the 2016-17 Multi-employer negotiating round started in February with the commencement of UCEA's three-stage consultation with members.
More information on the 2016-17 negotiating round will be published when available.
Details of settlements from previous rounds and trade union pay claims can be found on the Previous Pay Settlements page.
Page last updated 19 May 2016