2023-24 New JNCHES pay round

9 October 2023

UCEA wrote to the Joint Union Side Secretaries to reiterate the urgency of completing the Independent review of sector finances prior to the start of the 2024-25 New JNCHES pay round.

 UCEA Letter - Financial review - 9 October 2023

2 October 2023

UNISON members in 17 HEIs take strike action over the 2023-24 pay uplift.

25 September 2023

Less than 50 UCU branches agree to take industrial action during the week after the encouraging announcement that UCU stood down strike days at the majority of institutions 

19 September 2023

UCU launches a new ballot on the 2023/24 pay uplift

6 September 2023

Following an electronic consultation with the membership, called by the UCU’s HEC, the marking and assessment boycott (MAB) was withdrawn. The e-ballot had closed on 1 September with 60% voting for the boycott to be called off. UCEA welcomes the vote by UCU members to end the MAB and seeks to begin the review of sector finances and further talks on the important pay-related matters raised by the UCU and the other unions.

5 September 2023

Jo Grady, General Secretary of UCU wrote to UCEA

 Jo Grady letter to UCEA - 5 September 2023

4 September 2023

UCEA wrote to both Jo Grady, General Secretary of UCU and the Joint Union Side Secretaries re-iterating our offer of Acas facilitated talks

 UCEA letter to Jo Grady - 4 September 2023 
UCEA Letter Joint Union Side Secretaries - 4 September 2023

23 August 2023

Briefing note: Impact of UCU’s MAB
UCEA issued a briefing note (below) that summarises the impact of the MAB survey kindly completed by members over the past week.
This latest data is based on returns from 120 HEIs of the 144 HEIs that are involved in the MAB. Returns from these HEIs account for approximately 80% of the final year undergraduate population. Most notable was that 93 HEIs (78% of the sample) reported that all of their final year students have now been able to graduate.

 MAB impact - August 2023

16 August 2023

On 16 August UCEA wrote to Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education in response to his letter to us on 11 August. The exchange between the Minister and UCEA can be found below. The Minister’s letter to UCU can be found online.
 Letter from Raj Jethwa, UCEA to Rt Hon Robert Halfon - 16 August
 Letter from Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP to Raj Jethwa, UCEA - 11 August

4 August 2023

On 2 August UCEA received a letter from UCU in response to our letter of 31 July (see below)
 UCU letter to UCEA - 2 August 2023
On 4 August we wrote to UCU in response to their letter
 UCEA letter to UCU - 4 August 2023
We also wrote to the Joint New JNCHES Secretaries 
 UCEA Letter - to New JNCHES Secretaries - 4 August 2023

1 August 2023

UCEA believes there is an urgent need to re-set industrial relations and to end the cycle of industrial action in higher education. However, significant changes to the sector’s funding model over the last decade have placed increasing strain on industrial relations in recent years.
Such financial pressures mean that UCEA was at the very edge of its mandate with this year’s pay uplift of 5-8%, nearly half of which was delivered six months early to address cost of living pressures. The remaining portion of the 2023-24 uplift is due to be implemented from 1 August 2023. This uplift prioritises the disproportionate effect of high inflation falling on the lower paid. Around half of HE staff on the New JNCHES spine will also be eligible for pay progression, typically worth 3% on top of the base pay uplift. 
Given the wide difference of views between the unions and the employers on the ability of the sector to pay higher increases, UCEA is willing to work with UCU and the other unions on a joint, independently facilitated review of sector finances.
In addition, since 14 July 2023, UCEA has met with UCU and the Joint Union Side Secretaries on three occasions. The main focus of these exploratory talks has been UCU’s request for the return of deductions for participation in the marking and assessment boycott (MAB). 
Although returning deducted pay to staff who have already participated in the boycott would be unfair to the many staff who have worked tirelessly to mitigate its impact, UCEA has offered the following, if UCU calls a halt to the MAB:

  • A recommendation to HEIs that where planned pay deductions have not yet been withheld, that these are deducted on a phased basis to ease the financial impact on UCU members who have participated in the MAB
  • A recommendation that employers recognise the pre-booked leave arrangements of staff and the importance of having a reasonable workload upon the resumption of normal working.

UCEA has written to UCU and the other Joint HE Trade Unions setting out the above. The letter can be found below:
 UCEA Letter - 31 July 2023

Latest correspondence with the trade unions

UCEA wrote to the Joint Union Side Secretaries on 16 June 2023 and received letters from the Joint Union Side Secretaries on 29 June and additionally from UCU on 30 June. UCEA responded on 4 July. All four letters can be found below:
 UCEA letter to UCU - 4 July 
 UCU letter to UCEA - 30 June 
 Joint TU letter to UCEA - 29 June
 UCEA letter to Joint TUs - 16 June 

UCEA received letters from the Joint Union Side Secretaries and additionally from UCU on 18 May. UCEA responded on 19 May. All three letters can be found below:

 UCEA reply to Joint Trade Unions - 19 May 2023
 UCU response - 18 May 2023
 230518 Joint TU letter to UCEA

UCEA's letter to the trade unions regarding the ToR 

UCEA wrote to the Joint Union Side Secretaries on 11 May. The letter (below) confirms that should the trade unions' dispute position change, UCEA remains willing to commence joint work on the basis of the Acas terms of reference (ToR) - below. However, following UCEA's Board direction, its explain that if we do not receive a positive response by Thursday 18 May, UCEA will consider the terms of reference to have lapsed. It reiterates that, if the marking and assessment boycott is called off, UCEA retains its strong desire to begin constructive dialogue with the trade unions on the basis of the Acas terms of reference.

 UCEA Letter to the Joint Union Side Secretaries - 11 May 2023

Joint statement by UCEA and Universities UK

On 5 April, UCEA and Universities UK issued the following joint statement:

“We know the Acas terms of reference and the joint UCU and UUK statement on USS are now out for consultation with UCU members. We acknowledge that these consultations are internal union matters and we fully respect UCU’s decision-making processes.
“So much positive progress has been made in both disputes and the timescale for key USS decisions has been set. 
“We hope UCU members will ‘note’ the progress made, and we look forward to continuing and progressing the good work that has already taken place over the coming months.”

UCEA Board meeting 

Following the UCEA Board meeting on 22 March, the UCEA Board issued the following statement on 23 March - Statement from the UCEA Board on the 2023-24 pay uplift and the Acas terms of reference

Acas talks on 14 March and terms of reference for Phase two of the JNCHES 23-24 negotiating round

On 14 March UCEA met with the trade unions in Acas facilitated talks to finalise the details of the terms reference (ToRs) for Phase two of the New JNCHES negotiations, the non-pay items. 
A joint statement was issued Joint statement re Acas facilitated discussions between UCEA  joint HE trade unions on 14 March and UCEA issued the following media release UCEA and TUs consulting following agreement on the ToR. All parties agreed to consult their respective constituencies on the ToRs. They are as follows:
 New JNCHES Contract Types negotiations - terms of reference
 New JNCHES Equality Pay Gaps Negotiations - terms of reference 
 New JNCHES Pay Spine review - terms of reference
 New JNCHES Workload negotiations - terms of reference 

The ToRs were endorsed by the UCEA Board on 16 March UCEA Board endorses ToR for key non-pay items in the 2023-24 pay round

The UCU HEC met on Friday 17 March and issued the following statement – UCU Rising: higher education committee decision following which UCEA published the following statement on our website UCEA 'deeply disappointed' at UCU's HEC decision

UCEA is awaiting information from the other trade unions about their plans for consultation on the terms of reference. 

UCEA – Final pay offer following conclusion of phase one of the 2023-24 pay negotiating round - 24 February 2023

On 24 February UCEA advised employers participating in the 2023-24 New JNCHES pay round that the pay negotiations have concluded.  New JNCHES 2023-24 pay negotiations were separated into two phases: Phase one - pay and Phase two - non-pay items. The advice to implement the pay uplifts follows the conclusion of the dispute resolution process on the pay negotiations with the five HE trade unions. UCEA's letter (below) to the trade unions sets this out and informs HEIs that they should proceed to implement the pay outcome after the period of calm which ends on 5 March 2023. Employers should implement the pay uplifts offered with effect from 1 February 2023 (the interim uplift), with the remainder to be implemented from 1 August 2023, as and when their payroll systems will allow.

UCEA Uplift Letter - 24 February 2023

Joint statement on phase two of Acas facilitated talks between UCEA and the joint HE trade unions:

Following constructive talks between UCEA and the Joint HE Trade Unions on Thursday 23 February, facilitated by Acas, some progress has been made towards establishing agreed terms of reference for negotiations on the review of the national HE pay spine. Talks, through Acas, will continue next week on the terms of reference for negotiations on the pay spine and on workload, contract types and pay gaps.

2023-24 Dispute Resolution Procedure concluded

On 17 February UCEA and the HE trade unions completed the New JNCHES Dispute Resolution Procedure as part of the 2023-24 pay negotiating round following a week of intense discussions facilitated by Acas.

UCEA made a 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. As part of the next phase of negotiations for 2023-24, both parties agreed to proceed to talks in the week commencing 20 February 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 the end of February 2023.

Both sides recognised the need to allow for a period of calm during further Acas facilitated discussions and so HE institutions will not implement the new pay award during that period and UCU, UNISON and Unite have all agreed to pause their strike action during the weeks commencing 20 February and 27 February. EIS has no strike action planned for the week commencing 20 February, but it does have strikes planned at three HEIs for 27 and 28 February and 1 March.

 Joint statement 2023-24 New JNCHES pay negotiations 

Employers offer

On 26 January 2023, UCEA  wrote to the five sector trades unions on behalf of all employers participating in the 2023-24 New JNCHES round with a final pay offer for 2023/24 of between 8% and 5%. The offer prioritises the disproportionate effect of high inflation falling on lower paid staff but still with a minimum of 5% for all other members of staff. The intention is for between 3.2% and 2% to be paid from 1 February with the remaining uplift from 1 August.  

  UCEA final offer - 26 January 2023

An earlier offer was made on 11 January 2023 (see letter below) and included a pay offer to the unions recognising that the cost of living pressures fall disproportionately on the lower paid staff. UCEA also set out the intention to make a percentage of the uplift as an early interim pay uplift from February 2023, with the remainder of the uplift being awarded in August 2023. 

The letter and the list of the 144 participating HEIs can be found below.
UCEA offer - 11 January 2023
List of participating HEIs 2023-24

Meeting dates for 2023/24

The negotiating meeting dates for 2023/24 are as follows:

  • Tuesday 13 December 2022/Monday 9 January 2023
  • Monday 16 January 2023
  • Wednesday 25 January 2023

Agreeing the process

In early December 2022 UCEA and the trade unions agreed a process by which the 2023-24 New JNCHES pay round could be brought forward. This agreement to shift the timetable is unprecedented and provides a unique opportunity to address sector-wide cost-of-living concerns. The first three meetings commenced on 13 December but was adjourned as trade unions reneged on our joint agreed de-escalation statement

UCEA has since consulted its Board and responded to the trade unions on 21 December with a letter (below) explaining that despite the joint union side distancing itself from the jointly agreed statement outlining the agreed process, employers remain committed to constructive discussions for the good of our sector. The letter reaffirmed that UCEA’s intention in proposing an early start to the 2023-24 pay round was to find a way, within the stretched affordability of the sector, to support staff with the cost of living. The letter sets out amendments to the second paragraph of the jointly agreed statement in response to the Union Side request, explaining that the impact of the current trade unions' industrial action announcements on students and staff should be kept to a reasonable minimum. The letter also outlines the procedure to be agreed by the five sector trade unions to enable early negotiations to proceed.

 UCEA letter to trade unions following adjourned negotiations meeting