Joint statement to pause 2020-21 pay round

23 March 2020

Joint statement to pause 2020-21 pay round

The 2020-21 New JNCHES negotiating round had been due to start on 31 March but, given the unprecedented disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, UCEA and the five HE trade unions (EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite) have agreed to pause the start of the negotiations. This is our joint statement.
“UCEA and the joint trade unions, as the parties to JNCHES, understand that the current threat posed by the Covid-19 is unprecedented and is impacting the ability to conduct normal operations for many organisations, including both HEIs and unions. UCEA and the trade unions are committed to working together to get through the current situation.
A particular issue is the inability, given current restrictions, to hold full negotiating meetings.

This year’s negotiating round on pay was due to begin on 31 March. Given that the pandemic has caused significant disruption, as well as impacting vital health and other public services, the parties to JNCHES have agreed to a temporary delay in this year’s negotiating round.

In reaching this decision, both parties understand that this is a unique situation which shall not set a precedent for future negotiating rounds.

Both parties agree to a mechanism for regular contact and joint monitoring of the situation in respect of Covid-19. This will principally be through the Chief Executive and Chair of the Board on behalf of UCEA, and by the Union Side Joint Secretaries on behalf of the joint trade unions. The decision on when to re-commence the negotiating round will be based on a recommendation from this group. In making this recommendation, the group will monitor Government advice, particularly in relation to travel and working arrangements, factoring in the need on both sides to refresh the mandate for negotiations.”


For further information please contact: Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership ( or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager (