UCEA and trade unions conclude the dispute resolution process of the 2022-23 pay round

14 July 2022

UCEA and trade unions conclude the dispute resolution process of the 2022-23 pay round

UCEA and the HE trade unions completed the second and final New JNCHES dispute resolution meeting for the HE pay negotiating round for 2022-23* today (14 July 2022).

UCEA, representing 145 participating HE employers, had made the full and final pay offer** back in early May. The dispute resolution meetings are part of the pay round process to try and avert further dispute or industrial action. While these are not an extension of the negotiating process meetings, the employers recognised that during the time since the final offer was made there were further inflationary pressures and so UCEA chose to consult HE institutions over the pay element of the offer one final time. The consultation responses confirmed that there was no sector affordability to change the existing pay offer as HE institutions face similar unprecedented financial challenges.

This final offer includes an uplift of up to 9% for those on the lowest points of the pay spine, with a minimum uplift of 3% for all those on or above Spinal Column Point 20. This offer, worth 3.18% on the sector’s total paybill, is the highest uplift for the lowest points ever offered in New JNCHES negotiations, recognising the current inflationary pressures. 

The employers expressed disappointment that most of the trade unions – including UCU – had not consulted their members over the pay offer during the considerable period since it was made. However, given that the majority of staff are not members of a trade union, and seek a pay uplift urgently, it was agreed by the UCEA Board that the implementation of the uplift should take place from 1 August, or as soon as possible and backdated to that date. 

Raj Jethwa, Chief Executive of UCEA, said:
“Clearly the extremely difficult inflationary costs are a shared concern for employees and employers alike. Employers know that inflation disproportionately affects those on lower pay and the pay award includes an uplift of up to 9% for those on the lowest points of the pay spine. HE institutions are doing as much as they can to award and protect staff while facing unprecedented financial challenges in their ability to fund operations. Those HE institutions that can afford a small additional non-consolidated award have done so locally outside of New JNCHES. However, many HE institutions are working hard just to avoid redundancies while others are struggling to balance budgets to maintain staffing levels while awarding this pay uplift into staff pockets.  

“UCEA is agreeing for this immediate uplift, having represented our members fairly and accurately, and backed by detailed consultations throughout the pay round and even beyond. It is highly disappointing that most of the trade unions have still not consulted their members at any stage, with UCU and UNISON choosing to ballot in yet another attempt at industrial action. We sincerely hope that the 2023-24 pay round negotiations will be productive and constructive. We will consider improvements to the New JNCHES process but note that this year’s union claim*** did not move until the dispute resolution process, and even then, was lacking in moderation and realism.”   

* The negotiating meetings for the 2022-23 were: 30 March, 25 April and 5 May 2022  
** The full final offer, trade union claim and the employers’ statement are available at: www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/2022-23-new-jnches-pay-round/ 
***The trade unions’ headline pay claim is for ‘a pay uplift that is, at least, inflation (RPI) plus 2%, on all pay points’. RPI for May 2022 was 11.7% making the claim for 13.7%.

JNCHES - Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff. 
The five HE trade unions are EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite.

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)