UCEA expresses disappointment that UCU is balloting its members

15 October 2021

UCEA expresses disappointment that UCU is balloting its members 

Raj Jethwa, Chief Executive of UCEA, said:

“It is very disappointing that UCU is starting yet another campaign to encourage its members to cause disruption for students through potentially damaging industrial action. We are disappointed that UCU is encouraging its members to ballot for action which is specifically designed to disrupt teaching and learning for students who have endured so many recent upheavals. It is disheartening that UCU did not allow their members, representing a minority of employees, the chance to accept or refuse the offer on pay, equality, contracts and workload, at any stage in recent months. Instead, the lengthy delay for UCU’s ballot and strike action over the past months has clearly targeted the autumn term and our students, just when we are finally back on campus.

“UCEA, representing 146 participating HE employers*, concluded the dispute resolution meetings with UCU and other trade unions** following the 2021-22 pay round of three negotiating meetings which ended on 6 May. UCEA’s final pay offer guaranteed increases of at least*** 1.5% and has been implemented by HE institutions as it was due from 1 August. Also, UCEA included in its offer details of proposals for concrete action and further joint work to reduce the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps.

“The final offer from employers was fair and meaningful in the context of the sector’s ongoing delicate financial situation. We very much hope the trade union members understand the considerable pressures which continue to face their HE institutions. The financial impact of Covid-19 continues to affect these HE institutions, alongside declines in other income sources. These pressures sit alongside the future changes to sector funding and HE institutions have relayed to us that the great majority of the 325,000 sector colleagues covered by the collective negotiations understand the financial realities facing their institutions.”
* The Employers’ Statement and list of participating employers for this year can be found at www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/2021-22-nj-round/ 
** EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite
*** Higher percentage uplifts were made to the pay points below Spine Point 22, up to a maximum of 3.6%.
Details of the pay round can be found at: www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/2021-22-nj-round/ 
The Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff is the forum in which the employers, represented by UCEA, and the trade unions negotiate on the base uplift to the National Pay Spine. The National Pay Spine is used by most HEIs to underpin the pay and grading arrangements for staff up to Professor level (and equivalent), covering around 85% of the HE workforce. For overview and the New JNCHES Agreement go to: www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/New-JNCHES-Overview/ 

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).