Higher Education Pay Offer 2018/19

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Voluntary Living Wage – a qualified welcome


The National Minimum Wage became law in 1998, taking effect the following year.  It introduced different minimum hourly rates according to age bands. In 2015, George Osborne announced that for over-25s, the minimum wage would be renamed the National Living Wage and increased significantly.  This was primarily a way of outflanking the Labour Party, which had proposed a lower rise in the minimum wage.   The change was introduced from 2016.

 Confusingly, a voluntary “living wage” has been in existence since 2011, arising from campaigning going back to the early 2000s.   The Living Wage Foundation sets the level of the voluntary – or as we prefer to call it, Real Living Wage based on the cost of living.  The aim is to provide a worker with the minimum pay rate required to provide their family with the essentials of life, which the statutory so-called National Living Wage does not do.    Employers signing up to the Voluntary Living Wage undertake to maintain the pay of their lowest paid staff at the independently set level, and are recognised for doing so.

 Here at Sheffield Hallam, UNISON first raised the Real Living Wage issue back in 2012.  We therefore welcomed the University’s decision to pay the Voluntary Living Wage to our lowest paid colleagues from August.  

 This takes the form of a Voluntary Living Wage Supplement, paid to staff on Grade 2 (we do not use Grade 1 here) and the first spinal point of Grade 3 whose hourly rate would otherwise fall below that rate.  There are over 100 people impacted by this move.

 The Voluntary Living Wage was adjusted to £9 per hour in November, and affected staff should see that reflected in their pay packets soon.  

 Our welcome for this move is a qualified one, however, because the University has decided not to become an accredited Voluntary Living Wage employer.  Also, the method chosen to pay the Real Living Wage – a supplement on top of basic pay – flattens out the pay levels for staff on Grade 2.  Nor does the supplement apply to contract staff and casual staff who are not counted as employees, although it does apply to placement students and apprentices.

 Nevertheless, the move is a genuinely progressive move that benefits a large number of workers, and we hope that it will be maintained in the years to come.

HE PAY BALLOT: HAVE YOU RETURNED YOUR VOTE

To help us monitor turnout, please let us know you have voted.

This information will be used solely in order to monitor progress towards the threshold, and to inform our “get the vote out” activities – we are not asking for details of how you voted.

Either use the survey at http://unisonshu.org.uk/ls/payvote, or email dan@unisonshu.org.uk

The deadline for receipt of all ballots is Thursday 25th October.  If you have not received a ballot, there is still time to call the UNISON helpline on 0800 0857 857.

For more information see UNISON’s HE Pay website: https://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/education-services/about/higher-education/higher-education-ballot

A  pay  calculator,  to  help  you  work  out  how  much  your  pay  has  fallen  behind  is  here: https://unsn.uk/HEpaycalculator18

 

HE PAY OFFER 2017-18

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.

 

HESGE DECISION ON INDUSTRIAL ACTION

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.

 

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STRIKE ACTION BY UCU MEMBERS 25 AND 26 MAY 2016

UCU-logoWednesday

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)

Thursday

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/

 

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UNISON TO CONSIDER NATIONAL EMPLOYER’S FINAL PAY OFFER 2016/17 FOR HE

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).

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LIVERPOOL JOHN MOORES UNIVERSITY AGREES TO PAY LIVING WAGE

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.

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