Trade union claim
The Joint HE Unions submitted two national claims; one for pay and one for pay-related and equality matters.
The headline claim was for an increase in line with current RPI (3.2% in February 2013) plus an additional percentage increase “to start to address the real terms reduction in pay over the last four years”. The claim also requests that employers address the issue of low pay by achieving a “living wage” for all staff in HE through the removal of the bottom two points of the pay spine and to increase London weightings to a minimum of £4,000 (phased over four years).
On pay-related and equality matters the claim includes requests to extend the top of the pay spine beyond point 51 and an agreement to address the issues of Hourly Paid staff and “other forms of casualisation in the sector”.
This background document sets out as key points the employers’ comments on the context for this year’s pay negotiations. UCEA provides this as both background information for the negotiations and as a summary of the key issues to be considered from the employers’ perspective. The document also provides supporting detail and analysis to substantiate these key issues. It deals with HE funding, HEI income and expenditure, the labour market, the economy and pay settlements.
Summary of the negotiating round for 2013-14
UCEA and the five HE unions - EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite – held four meetings of New JNCHES between March and May. The negotiations concluded with a final offer of 1%, with offers of joint work on gender pay and casual contracts.
The negotiations were followed by two dispute resolution meetings with four of the unions in June and July, and a further dispute resolution meeting with EIS on 4 November.
GMB members voted to accept the final offer, which was confirmed to UCEA on 18 October 2013.
UCU, UNISON and Unite all rejected the final offer and balloted for industrial action. A one-day strike took place on 31 October 2013 by UCU, UNISON and Unite, followed by action short of a strike by UCU from 1 November in the form of "working to contract". Details are on the industrial action section of the website.
EIS also rejected the final offer but did not conduct a ballot for strike action until October/November. UCEA and EIS held a dispute resolution meeting on 4 November.
UCEA and the four unions in dispute held two further meetings in November to try to resolve the dispute. The unions confirmed that their dispute is due to the level of the pay offer and UCEA reiterated that member institutions had confirmed that 1% is the limit of affordability. EIS joined UCU, UNISON, Unite in a day of strike action on 3 December.
UCU wrote to UCEA on 4 November 2013 requesting a reopening of negotiations. The letter and UCEA’s response are provided below. Similarly, UNISON wrote to UCEA on 5 November 2013 requesting a reopening of negotiations. The letter and UCEA’s response are also provided below.
On 11 November, UCU replied to UCEA's letter. UCEA responded again on 12 November, offering dates for talks. Both letters are provided below.
Conclusion of the 2013-14 negotiations
On 18 December, UCEA wrote to UCU, UNISON, Unite and EIS (copying to GMB) to advise that, following discussions at the UCEA Board, the employers’ position is to regard the negotiations as closed. A copy of the letter is provided below.
UCEA has explained to the unions that should they wish to reach a conclusion to the round, we could still consider a request on the basis of the previous exploratory talks, for example to agree some conciliatory words to describe a conclusion of the pay dispute or to enable joint work to proceed on non-pay items.
HE institutions participating in the pay round have been advised to implement the 1% pay spine uplift.
Background documents for employers can be found here.
For more information please contact Nicola Carter.
Last updated: 19 December 2013.