You are:

  • News

HE trade unions accept the final settlement on pay and related matters for 2014-15

HE trade unions accept the final settlement on pay and related matters for 2014-15 and prepare for joint working

A settlement awarding 2% on all pay points* for 2014-15 has now been accepted by all five HE sector trade unions**. The pay settlement, with an extra adjustment on the first point, is at the absolute limits of affordability for HE institutions and brings 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***.

The settlement also means that UCEA and the sector trade unions will commence two important new pieces of joint work on the gender pay gap and on hourly-paid and casual employment. The joint work on the gender pay gap will build on the positive 2013 joint survey of HE institutions on the conduct and outcomes of equal pay reviews. It will draw on practice from inside and outside the sector in addressing causes of gender pay gaps with the aim of sharing and encouraging effective interventions.

The joint working on hourly-paid and casual employment aims to achieve a shared understanding of the scope and trends in casual employment, including ‘zero hours’ working and to consider how HE employers can achieve appropriate flexibility in the workforce while adopting fair and equitable employment practices.

It is important to note that this year’s settlement is testing for many HE institutions’ finances as the 2% figure needs to be taken together with the pay progression which 43% of employees will be eligible to receive. This will take the total pay increases to staff covered by these negotiations to at least 3.2% on average and more than this in many HE institutions****.

UCEA acknowledges that recent base pay increases (since 2009) have been restrained to an average of under 1% a year, with HE institutions facing continuing financial pressures, uncertainty and change. However, it is equally important to acknowledge that HE sector pay growth has matched both public and private sector earnings growth over the period.

Professor Paul Curran, Chair of UCEA, said:

“The successful outcome of this year’s pay round is a result of hard work, open dialogue and some very constructive negotiations. Thankfully, disruption from last year’s dispute was minimal at most institutions and we know that the overwhelming majority of HE staff will be pleased with an agreement that spanned two years by drawing a line under last year’s dispute and bringing the planned assessment boycott to an end. It is clear that both sides, and of course our students, shared an aim to see these negotiations conclude successfully.

“HE institutions were determined to make a fair and substantial offer to reward their staff and did so with an offer that exceeded the major cost of living indicators. However, the settlement is at the limit of what most HE institutions can afford and pay restraint is set to remain for the foreseeable future. It is good that the priority now is to work together to address important pay-related and equality issues.”


* The settlement applies to the 51 points of the HE single pay spine, covering approximately 85% of HE staff below Professor and equivalent.
** EIS-ULA, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite.
All five unions have conducted consultations with their members and have reported overwhelming acceptance of the pay offer.
***Many HEIs already pay at or in excess of the Living Wage figure, as well as providing generous sickness, holiday and pension benefits, none of which is reflected by the Living Wage campaign.
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 pay increase includes an additional average 1.22% set aside to pay for incremental progression plus circa 0.3% for separate merit and contribution pay at many HEIs. With the 2% per cent offer, the combined value of pay increases at between 3.2% and 3.5% in 2014-15 will cost around £350 million across the UK sector.

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

The trade unions’ joint claim for 2014-15 contained two parts: pay and pay-related equality matters. The pay part of the claim did not refer to a figure, but sought an offer that addressed the cost of living, the “real terms pay gap” due to pay awards not meeting inflation over recent years and ensured that no HEI pays any member of staff below the Living Wage.

The pay-related and equality part of the claim sought agreements on the gender pay gap, hourly-paid and zero hours contracts, disability leave, job security, workloads and an extension of the 51-point pay spine to cover senior staff.