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UCEA amplifies the national joint work on offer and recommends on implementation of the 1 August 2016 pay uplift

UCEA has made available today (24 August) a “Draft 2016-17 Settlement” (1) which amplifies and extends the national joint work on important matters of mutual concern, including gender pay gaps and casual working.

UCEA has also today informed HE institutions participating in the 2016-17 pay round that they may now prepare for implementation of the pay element of the draft New JNCHES settlement for 2016-17. This decision followed requests from participating HE institutions and consultation with the UCEA Board. 

UCEA has written to all of the HE trade unions (2) involved in the round, explaining that, with the final offer having been made in April and the Dispute procedure concluded in mid-May, it does not believe it is reasonable to expect employees to wait many more months beyond the 1 August date from which they should expect to receive their pay increases. UCEA believes that this backdated increase will be welcomed by all, and especially those lower paid employees for whom the award will provide base pay uplifts of up to 5.1%. The 1.1% base pay increase for others on point 8 and above brings the average pay increase this year to 2.7% when combined with the pay progression available to around half the employees covered.

The final offer (3) has sought to address positively the key elements of the trade unions’ joint claim so, alongside an above inflation base uplift for all, UCEA has, once again, offered substantial joint work on the two key issues raised in the trade union claim regarding gender pay gaps and casual employment. UCEA has also added the offer of joint work to assist HEIs and their trade unions in managing changes to the collection of trade union subscriptions required in the new Trade Union Act (4). UCEA intends to keep channels for dialogue open and continues to seek a settlement with all the trade unions on their 2016-17 claim.

UCEA and its HE institutions acknowledge that the round currently remains unsettled with the trade unions, with four unions still to go through ballot or consultation processes in September and October, some five to six months after the final offer was made. UCEA remains keen to achieve a settlement with the trade unions on all the elements but the UCEA Board is clear that the base pay offer is not going to increase further; it is already at the limits of affordability for many HE institutions and the entire sector now faces the additional economic uncertainties and concerns that are arising from the UK vote to leave the EU.

The UCEA recommendation means that HE institutions’ payroll teams are now in a position to begin planning to implement the pay uplifts due to their employees, with back pay from 1 August. However, there are some technical issues also to consider, including the payroll complexities many institutions face regarding the introduction of the new USS pension scheme (5) in October, which will determine whether individual HE institutions are able to implement in September, October or November.
 
A UCEA spokesperson said: “UCEA listened, considered and responded to the trade unions on all aspects of their claim in the offer it made back in April. The draft settlement document clearly demonstrates this. We have done so likewise with the participating HE institutions, now expressing growing concerns over the delays to implementation. With unprecedented external economic factors now playing out, our HE institutions have remained committed to this fair final offer; one that is at, and for many beyond, the limit of affordability and represents the very best offer available for 2016-17. UCEA continues to seek a settlement with all the trade unions on their 2016-17 pay claim and we hope that other important aspects of the potential settlement, including the substantial new joint work on gender pay and casual employment, will be carefully considered.”

1 - The “Draft 2016-17 Settlement” will be found on the UCEA website at www.ucea.ac.uk/en/empres/paynegs/current/index.cfm
2 - EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite
3 - Further details and the final offer and the background to the pay round are available on the ‘Current Pay Negotiations’ tab of the UCEA website alongside background documents. www.ucea.ac.uk/en/empres/paynegs/current/index.cfm
4 - S.15 of the Trade Union Act 2016 states that public sector employers will only be able to make payroll deductions in respect of trade union subscriptions (“check-off”, or sometimes known as deduction of trade union contributions at source (DOCAS)) if workers have the option to pay their subscriptions by other means (e.g. direct debit), and the union makes reasonable payments to the employer in respect of the process of payroll deductions. The employer has to be satisfied that the amount that the union pays the employer is substantially equivalent to the total cost to employer of making the deductions.
5 - Further details relating to USS scheme changes from 1 October are available here: www.uss.co.uk/members/members-home/the-uss-scheme/uss-investment-builder

ENDS

For further information: Please contact Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership (a.fryer@ucea.ac.uk) or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Officer (m.whittaker@ucea.ac.uk). Call 020 7383 2444.

Notes to Editors

Go to UCEA’s website for details surrounding the full Trade Union claim and the Employers’ final offer.
 
Links to the two New JNCHES reports published in July 2015:
Joint report on gender pay identifies good practice in HE
Ground-breaking joint report on hourly paid and casual staff