What’s the issue?
As you may have seen in recent updates, Unison has been in discussion with other Higher Education unions about the employers’ pay offer for 2018/19. Here’s what the unions asked for and what was offered by employers:
|Joint unions’ pay claim:
||Employers’ pay offer:
|7.5% or £1,500 + a minimum wage of £10 per hour
|2% or £425 (full time) whichever is higher
Due to the employers’ offer being significantly less than what was requested by all unions, Unison’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) are recommending that members reject the employers’ offer.
How does this affect you?
- The offer made by employers amounts to a real terms pay cut, inflation is higher than the 2% proposal
- We have had several years of below inflation pay rises and yet living costs continue to rise, this offer does not address this
- In the current climate, we are facing staff cuts in several areas of the University, which means we are facing an increase in workload without a meaningful pay increase
What happens next?
The Sheffield Hallam University Unison Branch will be running a consultative ballot which will be open for 3 weeks from Monday 9th July – Monday 30th July. This isn’t a ballot for industrial action; it is your chance to tell the branch what you think about the pay offer.
The more members that vote, the more accurately we can represent the views of this branch, so please look out for further details and do take part.
Many thanks to all those eligible members who participated in our pay offer consultation vote: just over 33% of you did so, which is an improvement on recent years.
The result locally was that 85% of respondents indicated that they wished to accept this year’s offer.
Our local outcome was reported to UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group executive, who discussed the results from all participating Branches and ratified members’ acceptance of the pay offer.
Overall, UNISON members voted by 71.1% to 28.9% to accept the offer.
The HE Unions have jointly reported to UCEA, the higher education employers’ organisation, that UNISON and GMB had consulted members and were accepting the offer; UNITE have rejected the offer but are consulting further before deciding on next steps; UCU was conducting an electronic ballot of members (due to end at the end of July) with a recommendation of “best that can be achieved by negotiation”; and EIS, the Scottish lecturer’s union, had conducted an initial consultation and would be consulting further over the summer.
UNISON’s head of higher education, Donna Rowe-Merriman, commented:
“Members working in universities have reluctantly accepted this year’s offer.
“Whilst higher than recent years, it still does not go far enough in compensating staff for successive years of low wage increases.
The HE service group executive has already begun work on next year’s claim and will want to mobilise support from across HE to ensure decent pay for our members in future.”
It should be noted that because not all the unions have concluded their consultation processes, it will obviously be some time yet before any pay uplifts can be applied, even assuming that each union ends up accepting the offer over the summer.
UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) met on 20th September to discuss the results of the industrial action ballot on the 2016/17 national pay offer.
A long and considered discussion took place, which took into account the close vote in the ballot, a disappointing turnout and the knowledge that it was likely that if UNISON did take strike action it would not be with all other unions (due to notable differences in positions and timetables). Joint union action has been key to previous successful action.
Taking this into account it was reluctantly agreed that UNISON would not take industrial action on this occasion. The HESGE felt that the ballot results and views from regions meant that the union could not deliver a sufficiently strong strike to force the employers to improve their derisory pay offer.
UNISON is committed to national pay bargaining and will continue to campaign to improve members pay, terms and conditions in higher education. Further discussions will take place at UNISON’s forthcoming HE branch seminar, which will also focus on the need to build membership and engage members in future industrial action ballots.
Women with children face a wider gender pay gap, says a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
In the 12 years after a woman returns to work after having a baby, the gender pay gap increases until they are 33% behind their male colleagues, on average.
Defend HE Teach-In (free lunch provided) 12pm -1 in the University of Sheffield Students’ Union, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TG. More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/275322069482033/
SHU PG Open Day leafleting 3.45 – 5 in Hallam Square (the amphitheatre outside Owen)
Lobbying of the Vice Chancellor’s installation service 1.30 outside the Cathedral. More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1736515149899981/
Employers also offer further joint work on gender pay and casualisation
University employers have made a final offer of 1.1% increase on all points from 1 August 2016, with additional payments at the lower end of the pay spine.
This offer includes the deletion of point 1 to be implemented by 1 April 2017, and an increase of 3.1% on point 2 with tapered higher increases through to 1.6% on point 7 from 1 August 2016 (see table below).
John Moores joins ‘growing number’ of universities gaining accreditation as living wage employers
UNISON has welcomed the news that Liverpool John Moores University has become an accredited living wage employer.
The university, which employs around 2,500 staff, received accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation after committing itself to paying permanent employees and third-party contractors at least the living wage £8.25 an hour.
Are you struggling to make ends meet?
UNISON, the largest trade union for support staff workers in higher education, improves the lives of members, both at work and at home.
In order to make this year’s campaign for decent pay as successful as possible, and to represent you at work we need a clearer picture of what is happening in your workplace.
Take part in our survey at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HEPAY2016 to keep us informed.
Employers’ initial offer to higher education unions does not include the living wage.
The five higher education trade unions have rejected an initial pay offer from the employers and urged them to improve it before the next meeting.
The unions met UCEA, the employers’ representative body, on 21 March – the first of the 2016-17 pay negotiation meetings.
The trade unions presented a joint claim and the employers responded with an opening offer.
This offer included a 1% increase on all pay points, as well as a statement that the employer has a genuine interest in exploring whether all sides can agree joint work on reducing both the gender pay gap and casual work in the sector.
The joint unions rejected this proposal, which does not address areas such as the living wage, and urged the employer to improve the offer before the next meeting, which is scheduled for 28 April.