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Unite Newsletter – August 2021

2021 Pay negotiations

It looks increasingly likely that, despite all the higher education unions rejecting the offer and registering that we are in dispute, the universities’ national bargaining body (UCEA) will recommend that UK universities impose the 1.5% pay rise. If they do, the increase will be paid at the end of September, backdated to 1st August.

With inflation currently nearing 3%, the result will be a sizeable pay cut in real terms.

A consultative ballot of Unite members received a relatively high number of returns, which suggests that this may be time to consider industrial action. Unite National Sector Committee will consider the launch of a full ballot when they meet in September.

More information can be found at

COVID 19 return to work

Some Universities look likely to defy the Department of Education order that teaching should be either “face to face” or online with no option for doing both. Unite is arguing that the safety of our members must be the highest priority. Any return to work should be subject to informed risk assessment. Social distancing and online teaching must continue if the workplace is assessed to be unsafe. The risk assessment must consider the level of ventilation in all rooms. This will govern the safe level of occupation.

Unite General Secretary Election

Please do not forget to return your vote for the Unite General Secretary. Cambridge University Branch fully supports Sharon Graham, who has promised to drop the political meddling of her predecessors and to concentrate on supporting reps and members in the workplace. For more information see

Tribunals and the Menopause

The Guardian has reported that there is a growing number of women taking employers to tribunal citing menopause as proof of unfair dismissal.

Unite welcomes the highlighting of this often ignored issue. However, the law is very unclear, and the success or failure of any claim seems to rely on the disposition of the individual judge.