Local communications regarding national pay negotiations

Today staff received an email from HR with a link to this document (originally in word but converted to pdf to allow as many people as possible to read it) stating the stance of Management at York St John on the currently ongoing national pay negotiations.

We considered there to be a number of issues with the veracity of the information and the manner in which it was conveyed and consequently release the following statement to our members via email. We are aware that a number of our members do not have access to email and thus have made the document and our subsequent statement available on our web site to try and reach as many members as possible.

YSJ UNISON – response to Employee Briefing on current Pay Negotiations

Following the briefing circulated by Human Resources concerning the ongoing pay negotiations, YSJ’s Unison branch would like to clarify the following points for our members:

The real pay offer

The employers have offered a 0.4% increase. As the current rate of inflation is 5.3% this means a significant real-terms pay cut. The cost of your monthly outgoings will increase substantially more than your pay, leaving you noticeably worse off.

Cost of increments and pensions

The argument that the cost of pensions and increments prevents the University from making an acceptable pay offer is disingenuous. York St John has already incorporated all of these additional costs into its financial planning – they are not new burdens to be carried.

In addition the total staff numbers have dropped by 4.2% in the last year, reducing the cost burden even more. Reviews and restructures have further reduced the amount YSJ pays out in increments and pensions.

Further, Unison refutes the argument that the effect of incremental increases on the pay bill should be taken into account during pay negotiations at all. Unlike the private sector (who pay the rate for the job from day one) in the public sector staff start below the full rate and build up reflecting increasing knowledge and skills – arguably providing a short term subsidy for HE employers. (www.unison.org.uk)

Pay increases versus job security

Does accepting a lower pay agreement mean our jobs are more secure? In a word – no.  As the briefing document clearly states all decisions linked to job losses are made locally, unrelated to national pay negotiations. The proposed increases have already been factored in to York St John’s Financial Resilience Plan, they do not represent additional finances to be found at the expense of more jobs.

The financial context

YSJ Unison wishes to express its disappointment at the decision of the management to publish this briefing on a day when the media is dominated by alarming references to financial cutbacks. Unspecific references to ‘negative consequences’ to the University are unhelpful and unnecessary. Whilst the financial pressures on the University are real this should not be used as an opportunity to squeeze staff salaries further. Instead, Unison argues it is time to value the hard work of the staff who continue to contribute to the University’s development under such difficult circumstances.


Pay negotiations are undertaken nationally on behalf of both the management and unions at York St John. You can follow their progress on our local branch page: http://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/unison/category/negotiation/pay/

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