The 2009/10 pay round resulted in an unsatisfactory settlement. Not only were there negative perceptions about UCEA’s commitment to the negotiating process, the settlement of less than RPI resulted in a pay cut in real terms.
The early move by UCEA to link job security to the pay award, combined with the stated inability to negotiate a national approach to avoid redundancies was of great concern to the trade union side. In essence, the employers were calling for pay restraint in the full knowledge that over recent years the mean average of vice-chancellor’s pay had increased by much greater rates than the vast majority of those employed by the sector.
The trade union side wishes to see:
- an increase on all pay points equivalent to the difference between the 0.5% increase paid for the period 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2010 and the higher RPI rate expected over the same period, to ensure that HE staff do not suffer a real-terms pay cut for that year
- an increase on all pay points equivalent to the expected RPI figure for August 2010, to ensure that there is no real-terms pay cut in the coming year
- in the light of expectations for RPI at the point of claim, a minimum increase of 4% on all pay points
- the lump sum of £550 underpinning of salaries for low paid staff.
In recognition of the challenges facing the sector, the trade union side urges UCEA to join with other interested parties in the broadest possible campaign for a fair deal for higher education and the defence of jobs, of research and of teaching standards. Such a campaign should attempt to build the maximum possible unity between all stakeholders — unions, students, learned societies and Higher Education employers — and can win widespread support and offer the best prospect for the defence of state funding for Higher Education.
In addition, the trade unions expect the employers to recognise the relationship between the quality of education and research in our institutions and the quality of the professionals on whom education and research depend. Recruitment of excellent teachers, researchers and professional support staff cannot be separated from decent pay and conditions. Therefore, part of the trade union side claim is to urge:
- National negotiations on the provision and sustaining of jobs, leading to jointly agreed proposals to improve job security across the sector.
Paragraph 6 of the national agreement recognises that JNCHES will be responsible for negotiation of those pay and related matters that are determined at national level and refers specifically to a regular review of the Framework pay spine and to further consideration of the provisions of the Framework Agreement for the Modernisation of HE Pay Structures (2004). Therefore the trade union side requires discussions on:
- the removal of the bottom two pay points of the national pay spine and its extension at the top to create additional points beyond point 51
- the assimilation to the national pay spine of hourly-paid staff and positive moves to ensure that all hourly-paid staff are employed on appropriate full-time or fractional contracts
- jointly-agreed proposals to close the gender pay gap
- jointly-agreed proposals to develop a national system for the remuneration of external examiners
- the establishment of a technical group to address issues relating to career pathways and progression, roles and professional development for distinct occupational groups
- the resolving through the JNCHES machinery of points from the 2009/10 pay claim that have not yet been addressed, in particular the 35 hour week and a minimum rate for trainee technicians
- an increase to £6,000 for London Weighting and the establishment of a working group to consider the development of other high cost area supplements
- the principle of fee remission for children of HE staff.
Download the full trade union side national claim, submitted to JNCHES on 19 March 2010.
The employers side urged the trade unions to seriously consider the final offer of a 0.4% consolidated pay increase. This offer was subsequently accepted by UNISON in a national ballot of members.