UCEA's comment on UCU's plans for more strike action targeting students
In response to UCU's planned dates of strike action, Raj Jethwa, UCEA’s Chief Executive said:
“There will be disappointment across the sector at UCU’s decision to call three days of strike action later this month.
“All HE institutions fully recognise the inflationary pressures currently facing staff. While UCEA is not proposing to re-open the 2022-23 pay round, which our member HE institutions have consistently confirmed as fully concluded, we are consulting on the possibility of bringing forward the New JNCHES 2023-24 pay negotiations. UCEA's current consultation follows in-depth discussions with our members across September and October in response to cost-of-living concerns.
“Any threats of industrial action will do nothing to support students, staff or the many HE institutions working hard to avoid redundancies or maintain staffing levels, having delivered the August pay uplift.
“UCU needs to provide its members with a realistic and fair assessment of what is achievable before encouraging strike action directed at students once again. UCEA and its member HE institutions always seek to work with UCU and other trade unions to support staff and students and to avoid any unfair disruptive action.
“The 145 HE institutions at the 2022-23 New JNCHES bargaining table have done their best to support jobs and staff in very difficult circumstances. All institutions face significant cost increases, with most enduring falling income in real terms. HE institutions want to do more for their valuable staff, but any increase in pay puts jobs at risk. UCU’s own research confirms that, in many parts of the country, HE institutions are important local employers. Those communities simply cannot afford to lose jobs*.
“The biggest concern remains for those on lower incomes, who are disproportionately impacted by inflation and cost of living pressures. That is why last year’s pay award** included an uplift of up to 9% for those on the lowest points of the pay spine, and why UCEA worked with employers to implement the uplift at the earliest opportunity following the conclusion of the New JNCHES processes.”
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