UCEA and TUs conclude the 2023-24 pay round Dispute Resolution Procedure over pay

17 February 2023
UCEA and TUs conclude the 2023-24 pay round Dispute Resolution Procedure over pay

UCEA and the HE trade unions have now completed the New JNCHES Dispute Resolution Procedure for the pay negotiations of the 2023-24 negotiating round* following a week of intense discussions facilitated by Acas.

UCEA, representing 144 participating HE employers, had made the final pay offer of between 8% and 5% from August 2023 with a proportion of that to be paid from February, some six months in advance of the usual pay uplift date, with HE institutions and trade unions fully recognising the urgent inflationary pressures currently facing all staff.

Both parties agreed that further progress was made on the uplift at the lower end of the pay spine and that a pay impasse, rather than an agreement, has been reached. This completes the negotiations and discussions for pay, agreed as the priority phase by both parties in a bid to provide some early pay uplift six months early.

As part of the next phase of negotiations for 2023-24, both parties agreed to proceed to talks next week to determine the jointly agreed work necessary on other priority issues, including a joint commitment over a revised/refreshed pay spine, and a commitment to negotiations on contract types, workload and pay gaps. Work will continue through Acas conciliation until end February 2023, seeking to agree more detailed terms of reference and timescales for these substantive negotiations. 

Both sides recognised the need to allow for a period of calm during further Acas facilitated discussions and so no industrial action will take place until the start of March and HE institutions will not implement the new pay award during that period.

The dispute resolution meetings are part of the 2023-24 pay round process to try and avert further dispute or industrial action. While these meetings, agreed by both sides to be facilitated through Acas this year, are not an extension of the negotiating process meetings, UCEA’s alternative pay proposals within the overall envelope may well result in many HE institutions needing to defer the pay award to be able to afford it.

Raj Jethwa, UCEA’s Chief Executive said:
“UCEA accepted Acas’ services as the right thing to do in an attempt to reach a settlement and to meet our original objective of getting an affordable uplift to all staff sooner than usual. Despite strike action and further threats of disruption, and in recognition of how inflation disproportionately affects lower paid staff, employers remain committed to this early implementation. Our intention is to see this is paid in March pay packets, backdated to February. It will be unfair to delay the early pay uplift to all staff any longer.  

“While the impact of strike action continues to be low and isolated, this is about a final attempt from employers and trade unions to achieve an outcome upon which both parties can consult their members.” 

* The early negotiating meeting dates for 2023-24 were as follows:
  • Tuesday 13 December 2022/Monday 9 January 2023
  • Monday 16 January 2023
  • Wednesday 25 January 2023
Go to pay negotiations for background information: www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/2023-24-new-jnches-pay-round/ 



The trade unions’ headline pay claim has remined for ‘a pay uplift that is, at least, inflation (RPI) plus 2%, on all pay points’. www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/2023-24-new-jnches-pay-round/ 

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)