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UCEA makes a fair and final pay offer at double the level of inflation plus a very generous uplift for the lower paid

UCEA and the HE trade unions* met yesterday (28 April 2016) for the second and now final of the New JNCHES meetings of HE pay negotiating round for 2016-17**. With trade unions seeking an uplift that addresses inflation concerns, UCEA provided a 1.1% final offer on base pay - more than double the current inflation level and better in real-terms than the 2% settlement in 2014-15***.

In addition to this, the offer focuses on the lower paid with an uplift will bring the hourly-rate on the lowest pay spine point to £1.05 above the National Living Wage**** and provide a minimum sector salary of £15,052. The lowest paid will actually see an increase of £729 per annum or 5.1%, with the hourly-rate on the new lowest pay spine point at £8.25 per hour - meeting the voluntary living wage campaign rate.

Coupled with the progression and contribution pay that around half the employees covered are eligible to receive, the final offer means a sector pay increase of around 2.7%, without counting the extra on the lower points.

This significant investment in staff sits for HE institutions alongside an exceptional year of increasing costs from other sources; pension contributions, NI rises and the apprenticeship levy to name just three.

UCEA, representing 148 HE employers, is fully aware that this final offer will be very challenging for some HE institutions and is at the limit of affordability without serious implications for job losses.

UCEA responded to all seven elements of the trade unions’ joint claim and has included in the final offer proposals for new and significant joint work on two important issues; the gender pay gap and casual working arrangements. This would follow the successful conclusion of the joint work currently taking place as a consequence of the 2015-16 settlement.

Professor Sir Paul Curran, Chair of UCEA, said: “The employers have been committed to genuine and productive negotiations with the trade unions and, using only two of the three meetings at the trade unions’ request, have listened and responded with a sustainable and fair final offer. Having made an opening offer that was already at a limit of affordability the employers are clear that this offer – taking the total average sector increase to 2.7% - is the very best offer that will be available this year. We believe that trade unions can put this offer positively to their members as one that addresses the key aspects of their pay claim in the context of a financially challenging sector environment.”

We look forward to hearing from all the trade unions following their consultations with members.

* EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite
** Meeting in the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES), the parties had originally agreed to meetings on 22 March, 28 April and 19 May, but the HE employers agreed to curtail the timetable and move to a final offer at this stage at the express request of the joint trade unions.
*** The Government’s official measure of inflation, CPI, is currently 0.5%, see and go to UCEA’s website at for details of the 2% settlement in 2014-15. 
**** The National Living Wage is at £7.20 an hour; for more information: The offer will result in a minimum of £8.25 per hour for employees paid on the pay spine on a 35 hour week.


For further information: Please contact Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership ( Call 020 7383 2444.
Notes to Editors

Go to UCEA’s website for details surrounding the full Trade Union claim and the Employers’ Statement

The New JNCHES negotiating timetable is a process that runs across meetings in March, April and May. This forum allows for three negotiating meetings, and more if required.

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