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UCEA’s statement on UCU’s second ballot results

22 February 2019

“There was surprise at UCU’s decision to ballot their members for a second time over last year’s pay outcome, following a process last autumn which failed to secure their members’ support. This result shows the same low level of support for strike action*. It is now more than half a year (August 2018) since university employees covered by the national pay negotiations saw pay increases of between 2 and 5%, the average increase at sector level of 3.5%** sitting well ahead of last year’s inflation measures. The great majority of HE staff understand the financial realities for their institutions and have moved on from last year’s balanced and fair pay outcome.

“It was also disappointing to see UCU clouding issues in their campaigning and indeed now saying that the ballot was about “job security, workload and pay inequality”, all matters which fall outside the scope of the of national pay negotiating machinery***. We trust that the trade unions will now, as universities are, focus on the many icebergs and uncertainties facing the sector and engage constructively in this year’s (2019-20) multi-employer negotiating round which will open at the end of March.”

*UCU’s ballot result in October 2018 saw just 8 out of 143 UCU branches meeting the required 50% turnout - see

UCU’s ballot result in February:

**Approximately half of the staff covered by these negotiations were also eligible for additional progression pay increases of around 3% bringing their total pay uplift to 5%; the average 3.5% increase this brings the sector’s non-senior staff was a very good outcome and increases were paid in August 2018.

UCEA’s website page hosts full details of last year’s 2018-19 Pay Negotiations:

***UCU campaign material:


For further information: Please contact Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership ( or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager ( Call 020 7383 2444.