National Conversation on Pay Bargaining

Over the past decade, the majority of annual pay negotiations have ended in dispute. In fact, only once during that period has a settlement been reached in advance of the 1 August deadline for implementation. 

This would suggest that the current system isn’t working for all in our sector.  

This is why UCEA launched the National Conversation on Pay Bargaining. 

We began the Conversation in the autumn of 2021 by bringing together HR Directors from member HE institutions to discuss what they value about the current system as well as its constraints. In the spring of 2022 we widened the Conversation to discuss the same issues with Heads of Institutions. 

Since then, a task and finish group has been set up by the UCEA Board to oversee the development of a formal written consultation, which we are developing in conjunction with our members.

On 21 November 2022 we launched the formal consultation with members. 

While UCEA have engaged with a range of stakeholders and individuals during the national convention, we are now asking for consolidated official responses from member institutions by 12 noon on Friday 17 February 2023. If other bodies or individuals want to share their views, they are welcome to email Lisa Cunningham, Head of Strategy, on 

Project resources 
For a brief history of the current system for pay baring in higher education, refer to Higher education pay bargaining – a brief history 

For context and comparators regarding the pay bargaining system in higher education, refer to Bargaining in HE – A literature review

If you would like more information about the project, please contact Lisa Cunningham, Head of Strategy 

Blogs related to the NCPB project
Raj Jethwa, UCEA Chief Executive, on Conversation to consultation for the direction of pay bargaining

Raj Jethwa, UCEA Chief Executive, on It’s time to listen: the future of collective pay bargaining 

Jerry Cope, Deputy Chair of UCEA Board, New JNCHES employer representative, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and Chair of the Board of Governors at London South Bank University, on It is time to talk about pay talks 

David Duncan, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary University of Glasgow, on Re-thinking New JNCHES