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An overwhelming majority of UCU members vote to accept the 2% pay offer

Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) are pleased that the employers’ ‘full and final’ pay offer of 2% for 2014-15 has been accepted by the vast majority of UCU members.

Students and the sector more broadly will be relieved that the planned assessment boycott has now been called off*.

The remaining trade unions** are still consulting on the final pay offer, one which is at the absolute limits of affordability for HE institutions and includes an increase of 2.2% on the lowest point, and an offer of joint work to examine the use and usefulness of the first pay point on the 51 point scale. If accepted by the remaining trade unions the increase will bring the vast majority of staff in the sector on the lowest points of the pay scale to rates equivalent to or above the Living Wage***. 

HE institutions have been determined to make a substantial offer****, at the limits of affordability, to reward their much valued and hard-working staff this year. Taken together with pay progression which 43% of employees will be eligible to receive, the total pay increase envelope available to staff covered by these negotiations comes to at least 3.2% and more than this in many institutions*****.

The employers and trade unions are continuing to finalise other important non-pay elements of the offer.

* HEIs received UCU letters of confirmation at lunchtime on Friday 2 May and UCU issued a news release soon after: Marking boycott off as university pay dispute settled.
** EIS-ULA, GMB, UNISON and Unite.
*** Hourly rates vary due to differences in contractual hours at HEIs. Not all HEIs use the lowest points on the pay spine, but any staff paid on the bottom pay point working a 35 hour week (the working week at 41% of HEIs), will earn an hourly rate equivalent to the current Living Wage. The hourly rate at point 2 for those on a 35 hour week would be £7.83 per hour and any staff still recruited on point 1 will receive incremental progression to point 2 within a year of service.
**** 2% is substantial, exceeding the current consumer price index (CPI) and the two other official cost of living indicators. CPI grew by 1.6% in the year to March 2014. CPI(H) was at 1.5% and RPI(J) was at 1.8%. See www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_358581.pdf. This follows these pay awards over the last five years: 0.5% (2009-10), 0.4% (2010-11), £150 (equivalent to 0.5%) (2011-12), 1% (2012-13) and 1% (2013-14).
***** The pay increase envelope includes an additional average 1.22% set aside to pay for pay progression plus circa 0.3% for merit and contribution pay in many HEIs. With the 2% offer, the combined value of pay increases at between 3.2% and 3.5% in 2014-15 would cost around £350 million.

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

The trade unions’ joint claim for 2014-15 contained two parts: pay and the pay-related equality matters.