UCEA comment on the letter from the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education

13 August 2023

UCEA comment on the letter from the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education

In response to a letter to UCEA from Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Raj Jethwa, UCEA's Chief Executive said:

“UCEA continues to meet with UCU and the other sector trade unions to seek urgent resolution. UCEA believes there is a clear need to re-set industrial relations and to end the cycle of industrial action in higher education. However, significant changes to the sector’s funding model over the last decade have placed increasing strain on industrial relations in recent years.
"To that end, UCEA has suggested an independent facilitated review of sector finances and the trade unions have stated their agreement. UCEA has suggested a joint approach to Acas for facilitation of these talks and is awaiting the trade unions’ response to this proposal. We understand that the trade unions will be in a position to revert by next Wednesday allowing for their internal processes to take place, including UCU's emergency HEC meeting on Monday 14 August.* 
“This year’s pay uplift of 5-8% prioritised the disproportionate effect of high inflation falling on the lower paid. Nearly half of the uplift was delivered six months early to address cost of living pressures. Around half of HE staff on the New JNCHES spine will also be eligible for pay progression, typically worth 3% on top of the base pay uplift. The date of implementation of the remaining portion of the 2023-24 uplift is 1 August 2023.”
"Our recent feedback** that two thirds of HE institutions said that all of their students were able to graduate this summer is little comfort to the students who continue to bear the marking and assessment repercussions, nor for the HE institutions and the staff who have been working tirelessly to try to help these students. This form of industrial action, which is particularly damaging to students at this time of year, has been very disappointing."


For further information: Please contact  Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership (a.fryer@ucea.ac.uk) or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager (m.whittaker@ucea.ac.uk)