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Employers present positive proposals and extend pay offer to 0.4%

Employers present positive proposals and extend pay offer to 0.4%

UCEA, Unison, Unite, GMB, UCU and EIS met today (19 May 2009) as New JNCHES for the third meeting of HE pay negotiations for 2009-10. 

The employers presented constructive and positive proposals on the wide range of issues raised by the five trade unions and put forward an increased pay offer of 0.4% (a 0.3% offer was tabled on 27 April) for the next year.  This offer remains realistic, responsible and credible under the current circumstances, and against stringent limits of affordability in the sector.  The proposals included the offer of joint work to take forward a range of equalities and data issues and pay framework research.

As a separate matter the issue of job security and redundancy was once again raised.  UCEA, with its 153 participating members, shares unions’ concerns on minimising job losses in the sector.    Employers emphasised that it was in everybody’s interest that any job losses are handled in a fair, open and dignified manner.  

UCEA has no mandate for negotiating a national no-redundancy agreement – its prime role is to negotiate pay.  Employers reminded unions that many HEIs have in place comprehensive agreements and procedures in relation to jobs.  These procedures are negotiated with local trade union representatives.  Decisions about staffing are always made at institutional level in accordance with the needs and finances of each HEI.  As the representative body, UCEA will explore further with its members the kind of responses that they can make in this area.

This revised 0.4% offer is in addition to the incremental payments equal to 3% that the majority of HE staff will receive.  The increased offer was made following an extensive consultation exercise with HE institutions, all of which are operating in an increasingly difficult economic environment. 

Employers hope unions will reflect on the realistic and reasonable offer and proposals set out today - an agreement has been made for dialogue to continue.
ENDS

Notes to Editors:

The exceptional pay awards under the 2006-09 pay deal runs to 1 August 2009. HE staff will have received minimum increases of 15.9% over three years and up to 26% if receiving increments.  The 5% award made in 1 October 2008, after a 3% increase in May 2008, was by far the highest increase to staff pay in the public services during 2008.

HE institutions are no more immune from the impact of the financial turmoil than any other sector and, as well as the extremely difficult and volatile economic climate, there are a range of additional factors influencing negotiations, including funding and grant allocations, student numbers and increases in employers’ contributions to pensions. The recent Budget has also seen significant cuts to HE funding in England, with equivalent cuts yet to be confirmed for Scotland, Wales and via the NHS training budget.

For access to the FULL timeline leading up to the current position in relation to the new national negotiating arrangements - New JNCHES - and the recent actions taken by UCU please go to
http://www.ucea.ac.uk/en/2009_Pay_Negotiations.  This link provides access to documentation and correspondence from all sides.  

For further information, contact: Andy Fryer, UCEA Communications Manager: 020 7383 2444 or a.fryer@ucea.ac.uk; Marc Whittaker, UCEA Communications Officer: m.whittaker@ucea.ac.uk