Inadequate “final” pay offer
As many of you will know Unite, along with other education unions, has been challenging yet another clearly inadequate “final” pay offer. The 3% offer made in May completely ignores the huge surge in the cost of living, and fails to recognise the incredibly significant contribution made by staff who have kept institutions running over the past two years. As usual UCEA painted the weighting of 9% for those on low pay bands as generous when, after allowing for the increase in the national minimum wage which all employers have to implement, this means the UCEA offer is only worth an additional 3% to the relevant staff. Do not let the employers pull the wool over your eyes.
Having considered the final offer, Unite’s Education National Industrial Sector Committee (NISC) decided on 5 July 2022 to declare a collective dispute. An Action Plan, developed by the Higher Education Action Committee, has been approved. Your branch will be invited to consult on this plan following a further NISC meeting on 15 July which follows a second dispute meeting with the employers. Please keep an eye out for communications from the Unite Education National Officer, Andy Murray.
Sister unions in higher education, UCU, EIS, and UNISON, have also registered a dispute over pay.
What are the next steps?
Unite Branches and members will need to consider the Action Plan. Individual members will need to consider how much they value their standard of living. It is likely that inflation and rising interest rates, combined with the soaring prices of everyday necessities, such as fuel and food, will affect households and remove the ability to pay routine bills.
Public Sector Rise, Private Sector Status, (When It Suits)
It has long been clear that the higher education sector employers prefer a status quo of acceptance of low pay and inaction from their employees. They have been happy to take advantage of staff goodwill by deliberately anchoring pay to harshly suppressed increases in the public sector, whilst at other times claiming that higher education is private sector, protesting loudly about its independence from government.
It is time that our employers showed us some of that goodwill and offered us a pay rise in line with inflation. (At the very least).