Pay negotiations between the higher education trade unions (UNISON, UCU, Unite, GMB and EIS) and the employers (via their negotiating body the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, UCEA) have concluded.

The full and final offer tabled by UCEA on 27 April 2017 is a 1.7% increase on all points on the pay spine, with additional payments for those at the lower end.

This is effective from August 2017.

There are also proposals to work on the gender pay gap and to review progress around casual employment.

Read full details of the joint union claim.

Read full details of the final offer.

UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) decided at its meeting on 4 May 2017 that this offer is the best to be achieved by negotiation, and that if members vote to reject the offer, sustained and prolonged industrial action would be required.

In line with UNISON policy, the final offer is first of all subject to a Branch consultation exercise, which will end on 3 July 2017. This Branch will therefore be putting in place arrangements to consult with members in order to report back to HESGE, and so please look out for further communications and information.

If, based on the results of this consultation, HESGE decides on a course of action including industrial action, then this would be put to members in a further, centrally conducted, ballot. In accordance with the Trade Union Act, a turnout of at least 40% would be required in order to make a vote for industrial action legally valid.

Rejection of the pay offer in an industrial action ballot would initiate a campaign of industrial action in line with UNISON rules and conference policy. UNISON would endeavour to work alongside other unions wherever possible on joint action.



Nine out of ten of us have a profile on social media, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your own blog. It can be easy to forget that what you post on these sites can be read by other people – including your employer.

Sheffield Hallam’s social media policy states that “you should consider carefully before posting comments which could be linked to the University that could cause offence, or be viewed as contravening confidentiality”. It also warns employees not to be “inappropriately critical” of the University.

Here are some basic tips to help you avoid getting into trouble at work.

  • Make sure your privacy settings are as secure as you can make it. But bear in mind that one of your contacts could take a screengrab of what you have written, so it’s important to take care with what you say.
  • Be mindful of who you give access to.
  • Don’t make reference to the company that you work for.
  • Don’t post or allow others to post on your profile anything that could be taken as defamatory,  harassing, obscene, libellous or otherwise unlawful or offensive.
  • Don’t post anything that contains personal threats or insults relating to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic, racial, religious or other protected characteristics under equality law.
  • Be careful about what pictures and videos you allow to be posted of you.


UNISON HE SG conf 2017

Report by Tracey Holland and Lucinda Wakefield


unison public services logo

Like all UK universities, at Sheffield Hallam we have many members of staff from across the EU.

Since the referendum last year, there has been a great deal of uncertainty for EU citizens living and working in the UK. We don’t know what the outcomes of the Brexit negotiations will be, but UNISON will continue to campaign for the right of EU citizens to remain here.

In the meantime, we have created a booklet providing practical help to UNISON members whose right to live and work in the UK is dependent on their citizenship of another EU country.

Read our advice here (PDF).



Commenting on the Spring Budget UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

On pay
“For almost a decade nurses, teaching assistants, town hall staff and others in the public sector have had their wages frozen or been given minuscule pay rises.

“These are the people keeping the NHS, schools and local communities afloat in tough times. The pay boost for Westminster politicians should’ve signalled a decent pay rise for the rest of the public sector, especially with inflation almost double the one per cent cap.

“But without a mention from the Chancellor, public service employees will be feeling they’re the forgotten part of the ‘jam’ generation. Most are not managing at all.  read the full article


UNISON, alongside the other unions at SHU, has agreed changes to the “Right to Request Flexible Working” policy.

The law gives employees a “right to request” changes to their working pattern in order to help balance work and home life.  Although there is no legal right to have a request granted automatically, it must be considered seriously.  Sheffield Hallam’s policy is that managers should view requests positively and try to accommodate requests where feasible, subject to business need.

Staff can exercise their legal right to request flexible working at any time, but for many years University policy has encouraged staff who want to work flexibly to discuss this informally with their manager. Often, the desired changes can be agreed without the need to submit a formal request under the legislation.   However, the current policy requires that if the changes being requested constitute a contractual change (a change in hours, for example) – as they often would – then a formal application has to be made, even if the line manager supports the request.

The newly revised policy, agreed through discussions with UNISON and the other unions, will enable a flexible working request to be approved by a line manager even if the change is contractual (so long as the line manager is authorised to do so). In other words, where staff can reach agreement with their manager there will usually no longer be any need to submit a formal application .    Of course, if agreement cannot be reached informally, staff will still be able to exercise their formal “right to request” by making an application under the legislative framework.

This change will save time, reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork, and should make the process of requesting flexible working a much less onerous and anxious one for our members.

For advice on the policy, or on making a request, contact your local steward or UNISON contact.

At the time of writing, the revised flexible working policy has not yet been uploaded to the intranet (https://portal.shu.ac.uk/departments/HRD/polproc/flex/Pages/home.aspx), but this should happen soon.







Research by the Papworth Trust has revealed how propaganda about the NHS swayed disabled voters who didn’t know how many of their protections were from the EU, a Unison conference was told.

The suggestion that the UK could spend the money it sends to Brussels on the NHS was a major reason that many disabled voters backed the call to leave the European Union in June, ‘gambling’ with protections that few realised the EU had guaranteed for them.

Find out more.


Did you know that if you request a reference from your manager at Sheffield Hallam when applying for another job, it might not actually be them that completes it?

And if you are asked for a reference by one of your team members, make sure you follow our HR procedures.

All employer references must be completed by HR, not by members of staff across the University. Personal references are different – see the full guidance on the HR website.