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HE Employers present positive proposals and make final pay offer of 0.5%

HE Employers present positive proposals and make final pay offer of 0.5%

UCEA, representing 153 HE employers, met today (15 July 2009) with Unison, Unite, GMB, UCU and EIS as New JNCHES for the final meeting of HE pay negotiations for 2009-10. 

The employers built upon earlier constructive proposals on a wide range of issues raised by the five trade unions and put forward their final pay offer of 0.5% for the year 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2010. This final offer, improving on the 0.4% offer made on 19 May, is considered, realistic, responsible and credible under the current circumstances, and set against stringent limits of affordability in the sector and in the context of the exceptional pay increases last year. Financial pressures include the cost of the current three year pay deal which has provided increases of a minimum of 15.9% and increases in the employers’ pension contributions, for example a 2% increase in costs from October 2009 for those in the USS scheme. With RPI running at minus 1.6% this offer clearly maintains the value of the recent substantial increases in HE pay.

In addition employers have also offered to work with the trade unions on a range of issues through three joint working groups. These will cover:

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

The revised 0.5% pay offer for 2009-10 is in addition to the incremental payments equal to 3% that approximately two-thirds 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 and positively consult with their members.


Notes to Editors:

This offer is made against the following background:

  • HE pay has improved considerably under the 2006-09 pay deal which runs to 1 August 2009. 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, was by far the highest increase to staff pay in the public services during 2008;
  • The RPI inflation is now running at minus1.6%. The Treasury estimates this to decrease further to -3% by September 2009. Any figure more positive than the RPI % for pay spine uplift in 2009 is therefore a real terms increase in pay. Any such number also ensures that the recent pay improvements in HE will be maintained and not eroded.
  • Employers are facing substantial cost pressures arising from pensions provision in the sector: contribution rates are set to rise in the USS scheme by 2% (from 14% to 16%) in October 2009, and in many Self Administered Trusts, the Scottish TPS and LGPS schemes the employers’ contribution rates have also risen or will shortly do so.
  • As amplified in the employers’ statement already presented to New JNCHES, HEIs are operating in an exceptionally difficult financial environment. We look to our staff and trade union colleagues to work with us to sustain the excellence of the UK HE sector.

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 This link provides access to documentation and correspondence from all sides.  

For further information, contact: Marc Whittaker, UCEA Communications Officer: 020 7383 2444 or Andy Fryer, UCEA Communications Manager: