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London & Eastern Education Region, June 2022 Newsletter

Advice, help, and workplace news.

18 June 2022 – TUC MARCH & RALLY for CHANGE

London & Eastern Region members – we’re counting on you!

This is the first major demonstration by the trade union movement in many years. And it’s taking place in London – a tube or bus ride away for many. Start spreading the word. Get together with your workmates, family, and friends, and let’s make our region’s presence felt.  Free Unite transport is available from the Eastern part of the region. London members to find their own way to the assembly point.

Please email to book a seat and to order a bulk supply of materials to hand out in your workplace.
First coach confirmed: Pick up 1. 7:30 am – Kings Lynn bus station.
Pick up 2: 8:30 – Peterborough (location TBC).

Norwich Trades Council 8.00 – Theatre Royal  
Unite Harlow/Trades Council 9.15 – Harlow Playhouse, Playhouse Square 
Colchester Trades Council 9.30 –  Crouch Street (The Old Cinema) 
Cambridge 9.30 – Queens Road & 09.40 Unite Cambridge DO, Madingley Road

Assemble at 11 am, Portland Place W1, for the march to the rally at Parliament SQ

More information found here

Download Poster

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Pay 2022-23: employers’ second “final offer”

As usual, UCEA has upped the percentages for a pay increase by a teeny amount in response to the joint union’s objection to their previous figures. For the majority of staff, it now stands at 3%. Obviously, the changed offer in no way challenges the effect of the prolonged cost of living crisis on staff.  As usual, the employers have weighted higher percentages towards the bottom of the 51-point national pay scale affecting those on salaries currently between £17,338 to £24,871 (not including London Weighting for the relevant institutions).  As stated in a previous newsletter, most of the increase for the bottom of the pay spine is required to ensure staff are not paid below the Living Wage – it has nothing to do with generosity. This weighting also ignores the need to substantially improve the wages of the bulk of higher education staff, who are in the mid-pay bands – the sector’s version of the “squeezed middle”.

The implication is clear: management expects staff to simply soak up the pain of trying to make ends meet as if there is simply nothing they can do about it. As usual, they claim uncertain income, student numbers, and so on, never mentioning the expansion of their own numbers – paid well above the national pay spine. Interestingly, management also never counters the mistaken view that the sector is pegged to the low levels of public sector pay increases set by the government. They know, and so should everyone else, that higher education is in the private sector and, is often set up as charitable, even though the sector behaves more like commercial businesses. It should be obvious that the lowering of the value of pay for everyone but themselves has long been a management choice.

Over the same decade, senior management continues to find millions of pounds to spend on themselves and buildings while effectively turning their noses up at demands to improve conditions and pay for their key asset – their staff.  

What are you prepared to do to challenge their assumption that you are willing to make sacrifices for their benefit? Ask your branch to hold a meeting to find out more and discuss the offer along with UCEA’s various statements made as part of the offer on such things as the harmonisation of working hours (to 35 hours with no loss of pay), equality issues, and career progression.

The Education National Industrial Sector Committee will meet on Tuesday 21 June 2022 to consider feedback on the offer from branches and regions and determine the next steps in the pay campaign.

Delayed triennial Regional Industrial Sector conferences held

On May 18 Unite held sector conferences up and down the country. The London & Eastern Region Education conference was held at the Moreland Street offices in London. Siobhan Endean, the National Officer (NO), gave an overview of the past difficult years and praised the hard work of members keeping institutions going throughout the pandemic. The national machinery for pay negotiations for most institutions was discussed especially in relation to the continuing decline of the value of pay in the sector. Siobhan mentioned the holding of an Estates Forum on 11 & 12 July, and a course for experienced reps about job evaluation and rewards in the sector in September (date to be confirmed). Will Smith, the Chair of London & Eastern Education RISC thanked Siobhan on behalf of members for the support she has provided to the sector branches during her time as NO, and congratulations were offered on her moving to become the Director of Unite Education. Elections for delegates to the L&E Education RISC were then held. Dates for the first meeting of the new RISC (2022-2025) are to be confirmed.