Have your say: update national negotiations – pay 2022-23
The unagreed 3% pay increase (for most staff on the 51-point pay scale) will be imposed in August before you have had your say on the matter. This seems to be the preferred behaviour of the employers in recent years: adopt poor negotiating practices, barely engage meaningfully with dispute resolution meetings and force through what was always wanted in the first place. This is not how any negotiations should be handled and Unite sees this imposition as simply a down-payment on an improved offer if members are prepared to challenge what is happening.
Branch consultation is taking place from 8 August to 2 September to find out whether the majority in your branch want to accept this ‘offer’ and if not whether your branch wants to hold an industrial action ballot to fight for fair pay. Our sister education unions, Unison, UCU and EIS (for Scotland) are also consulting their members about the next steps.
The employers are counting on staff meekly continuing to accept year-on-year hits to real terms pay, even in the face of now rampant inflation. Maintaining that 3% is a sufficient response to current inflation rates of over 11% – with the Bank of England predicting a rise to 13% by October – shows how little employers care about how the rest of us live. To show them that they must not take you for granted you will need to agree to have the option of striking. There is simply no other way to get the employers back to negotiations or take future negotiations seriously.
You matter. It is vital that you take part in your branch consultation. Other members will take a stand even if you do not want to, and you may not like the decisions they take. This is what being in Unite is all about – informed members having their say and reaching a collective view on what needs to be done.
This consultation stage is to gather member views – it is not an industrial action ballot – but you will be asked if you want to take that next step. Be in no doubt that if you do not even consider agreeing to the option of balloting on taking industrial action, then management will continue to take advantage of what they see as staff weakness. At the moment it is clear they are happy for you to suffer the consequences of the continuing huge rises in the cost of living entirely on your own, as if negotiations on staff pay increases have nothing to do with being able to pay everyday bills and maintain standards of living.
If the majority in your branch want the option of taking industrial action then a ‘disaggregated’ ballot will be held soon after the consultation finishes. This is a local industrial action ballot, with the numbers that count being the votes of members in your local branch. This will be a secret postal ballot sent to your home address and counted by independent election scrutineers. Yes, this is still a national dispute, but challenging it effectively can be done locally if a majority in your branch vote in favour. Then the branch can co-ordinate action with branches of other education unions in your institution to be even more forceful.
Please ensure now that Unite (and your local reps) have an accurate record of your current home address, preferred email and mobile number so you can be contacted about consultation and any industrial action ballot being held next.
It is time for us all to act
Update on local pay negotiations – pay 2022-23 Imperial College
At Imperial College, the joint unions submitted a pay claim for a 12.9% increase in pay across the board for college staff. Following negotiation on this claim Imperial College offered 3.3% as an overall pay increase with a minimum payment of £1500 and a pro-rated increase up to £3300 as a ceiling.
Following consultative ballots of members of UCU, Unite and Unison, all three union branches have rejected this offer and declared a collective dispute.
The joint trade unions are awaiting a date for a dispute meeting. However, if the dispute meeting does not result in an improved pay offer the joint trade unions will be consulting their members regarding a move to industrial action ballots.
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