Statement from the UCEA Board on the 2023-24 pay uplift and the Acas terms of reference

Statement from the UCEA Board on the 2023-24 pay uplift and the Acas terms of reference
23 March 2023

UCEA proposed an early start to this year’s pay round in order to provide support to staff through the current cost of living pressures.

The pay uplift is at a level which many employers will find financially challenging. UCEA has gone as far as it can in balancing a meaningful uplift with the viability of HEIs across the sector. In a number of HEIs, jobs will already be at risk as a result of this pay uplift. 

This uplift also saw almost half of the increase delivered six months early, helping colleagues working across the sector and strongly weighted towards those on the lowest pay points.
It should be absolutely clear that UCEA has no ability to improve upon the 2023-24 pay award.

Through the Acas collective conciliation process, the unions raised a number of non-pay issues. Many of these are outside of the remit of New JNCHES as they are matters for employers to determine locally. However, with the assistance of Acas, UCEA and the unions have agreed a proposal for how these issues might be approached at a sector level. UCEA believes that this approach will enable employers to work with unions, in a constructive way, to develop local solutions. It will be deeply regrettable if this opportunity slips away.

If the Joint Higher Education Trade Unions are willing to enter into negotiations on the basis of the Acas terms of reference, UCEA remains ready to begin talks on the understanding that no further industrial action, including ASOS, is called during these talks. 
Given the delay in beginning talks, the timescales may need to be adjusted.

UCEA understands that the trade unions may need time to consult their members on participation in these negotiations. However, the Joint Higher Education Unions must let us know within a reasonable period of time that they are prepared to begin discussions on the basis of the Acas terms of reference. If they do not do so, the employers will deem that these terms of reference have lapsed. If the unions do, and there is no further planned industrial action, the employers look forward to constructive discussions with the trade unions.

On the 24 February the pay uplift was announced. See the following media release - The early uplift of the 2023-24 pay award
On the 15 March UCEA and the trade unions* met at Acas and agreed terms of reference for the negotiations for phase 2 of the 2023-24 New JNCHES pay round**. UCEA issued the following media release - UCEA and TUs consulting following agreement on the ToR for key non-pay items in the 2023-24 pay round

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

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