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Employers improve measured pay offer alongside opportunities for further joint working with unions

Employers improve measured pay offer alongside opportunities for further joint working with unions to enhance training and development

UCEA and the HE trade unions* met today (5 May 2010) as New JNCHES for the third meeting of HE pay negotiations for 2010-11.  Discussions continued on the unions’ joint claim for 4% plus other elements and employers invited the trade unions to consider how an improved 0.4% (up from the previous offer of a quarter percent) non consolidated offer might be distributed.

The improved offer was made on a ‘without prejudice’ basis against a background of serious funding cuts and uncertainties including the possibility of an emergency budget.

Employers were keen to pursue further joint working with the unions on training and development initiatives. This was recognised as an important issue to both staff and employers.  

Once again UCEA acknowledged trade unions’ concerns about job security and re-emphasised that decisions on staffing can only be taken at the individual institutions. However, UCEA will be working with the unions in the coming weeks to ensure that there is an opportunity for broad dialogue at the next meeting of their Joint Working Group on Sustainability. This is one of three Joint Working Groups**, all of which have started work on a range of jointly identified issues.

UCEA reminded trade union colleagues that in relation to job security the Acas Digest on job security*** had only recently been distributed (in March 2010). The Acas Digest on job security encourages dialogue and understanding of important issues facing institutions considering staffing changes. 

The employers’ approach is set against an exceptionally difficult economic climate with institutions facing serious financial challenges and increased concerns relating to income.

It has been agreed that a further New JNCHES meeting will be held on 28 May 2010.

* EIS, GMB, UCU, Unison and Unite

** These joint working groups cover issues jointly identified as part of the 2009-10 pay settlement:

  • Joint work to take forward a range of equalities issues.
  • Joint work to further evaluate pay modernisation through implementation of the Framework Agreement and to improve the collection of sector pay data.
  • Joint work to increase understanding in relation to HE funding and sustainability issues affecting financial decision-making.

*** For full details see the Acas Digest on job security


For further information:
Please contact:
Andy Fryer, Communications Manager (
Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Officer (
Tel: 020 7383 2444 Out-of-hours: 07827 157324.

The 2010 Pay Negotitations section of UCEA’s website provides extensive background information relating to the 2010-11 Pay Negotiations  


Notes to Editors

  • The New JNCHES negotiating timetable is a process that runs across three negotiating meetings (more if required), the first was 29 March, the second was 19 April; the third was 5 May. The need for an additional New JNCHES meeting has been agreed on 28 May 2010.
  • At previous New JNCHES meetings UCEA emphasized the need to calculate the real impact and cost of the unions’ joint claim for 4% plus other elements.  UCEA explained further the difficult and uncertain economic background and highlighted that the cost of the 4% element of the claim would be around £500m. 
  • Staff have benefited from excellent pay awards in recent years equating to a cumulative total of at least 16.4% from 2006-07 to 2009-10. Between 2002 and 2009 (which included pay modernisation under the Framework) HE teaching professionals’ average earnings increased by 35.8% (44.5% all staff) compared to 30% in the whole economy (ASHE) and against a total 20% RPI increase over the period. Full-time HE teaching professionals’ earnings in April 2009 were £50,091 at the mean (£46,243 at the median). For details go to see the Facts and Figures
  • Sector pay has improved considerably in recent years; including a base pay rise of at least 16.4% from 2006-07 to 2009-10.  Pensions and increments costs mean that the overall increase to staff costs in HEIs will have significantly exceeded the headline pay awards. This current offer has to take into account the fact that a significant number of staff will also receive incremental pay rises averaging 2.9%.