Pay offer and member consultation

Higher education employers have made a pay offer of 2%, which they are calling a “full and final” offer. Although this is lower than we were hoping for, it is higher than the offers made over the last few years, showing how our campaigning and action can make a difference. See the national website for further details on the offer.

We will be holding consultation meetings on this offer during the week commencing 12 May:

  • Tuesday 13 May at 4:30 pm in room 119, De Grey Court
  • Wednesday 14 May at 8:30 am in room 222, Skell
  • Thursday 15 May at 12:00 pm in room 138, Holgate

You should also soon be receiving a voting slip on whether to accept this offer (which would also draw a line under the 2013-14 claim), or to reject it and push on with our campaign for a fairer deal for HE staff.

It is important that we reach as many members as possible. Please email us at unison@yorksj.ac.uk and let us know if you, or your colleagues, are not receiving communication from the branch or information from national Unison, as we may need to update your membership details.

HE Pay Update – 2 April

Negotiations with the National HE employers – 2014/15

As reported previously, pay negotiations have started for next year’s claim. The starting point for these negotiations is that current salaries should be increased by at least the RPI rate of inflation (RPI is generally higher than CPI, which is the government’s preferred measure). Click this link for full details of the pay claim (Unison web site).

Next steps in the Pay Dispute 2013/14

UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive met recently to discuss the arrangements to consult on the next steps in the unfinished dispute (as agreed by UNISON’s HE conference). Details of this consultation will be circulated to Branches shortly.

Of the other unions involved in the dispute, the main academic union UCU has announced a marking ban to start from 28 April 2014, but has no plans for further strikes. Further details on impacts for UNISON members will be distributed in April.

Members will have received a pay increase for 2013/14 as UCEA advised its University members to pay the 1% pay offer to staff in January 2014. This payment was imposed by the employers and it has not settled our dispute, as 1% was a figure rejected by members, who voted to take strike action against it.

Has the 3 day strike made a difference?

Yes.  Whilst the employers have not moved on the 1%, we have made some small gains. Since the start of the dispute a number of employers (some of whom had previously refused) have agreed to introduce the Living Wage. Bath University are the latest alongside King’s College and City University in London. UNISON branches are urged to put pressure on those universities that have not yet agreed a Living Wage. Help to progress a local campaign can be obtained from your Regional Organiser. The more members we have in your workplace, the stronger we become and more effective we will be in discussions with the employers. Potential members can join instantly by calling 0800 171 2193, join online at https://join.unison.org.uk, or speak to your local rep.

Pay negotiations have begun for 2014-15

Although we have still not agreed a final settlement for the 2013-14 pay deal, Unison’s national negotiators have already begun talks on next year’s claim with UCEA (the University and Colleges Employers Association) alongside other HE and FE unions, holding the first meeting on 26 March. Donna Row Merriman, Unison Senior National Officer reported:

“A constructive exploration has taken place on the core components of the trade unions’ pay claim and the context for the HE employers. Our positive dialogue will continue, and we will meet again formally on 15 April 2014.”

 

We will keep the site updated with further news as we hear it.

 

Latest information on HE pay dispute from Unison

Unison has decided to fully consult members, via their branches, to develop a strategy for future action in the HE pay dispute http://www.unison.org.uk/news/members-to-be-consulted-on-next-steps-in-higher-ed-pay-dispute

This decision means that, before any further strike days are called, the service group executive will develop a strategy to maximise the impact of future action and make sure members are only called out when there is likely to be significant impact on higher education institutions.

 

 

 

After the summer…

Well – it’s been the usual long summer and usually union matters go very quiet.  This year has been different though – not too surprising for any of you with your fingers on the pulse.

Nationally we’ve been fighting cuts, pensions changes and other attacks on public services.  Please take the time to visit the national UNISON website to see the latest news.

Locally we’ve had an agenda full of restructures, financial resilience, smoking policy, car parking, building alterations, workload/stress and all of the usual individual cases of advice, grievance, disciplinary and so on.  We have also drafted a new branch constitution – but more on that as we approach the next AGM.

All in all – we’ve been busy and that’s not likely to change for a while.

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.

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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/

News from National Pay Negotiations (30/03/2010)

At the New JNCHES meeting on 29 March, UCEA made an offer to explore how a non-consolidated cash sum equivalent to 0.25% of pay bill could be applied.

The employers made no serious attempt to address the other key elements of the joint union claim; for example, nothing on:

  • Job security
  • Improving the national framework agreement and terms and conditions of employment
  • The assimilation of hourly-paid staff to the national agreement
  • Proposals to close the gender pay gap
  • Proposals for a national system to pay external examiners

Without producing any convincing evidence, the employers asserted that the effect of incremental increases on the pay bill should be taken into account during pay negotiations. This provoked a strong response from the trade unions. 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. The employers negotiated a pay deal in 2003 that clearly accepted increments as part of the structure so to complain now, when they have known and presumably budgeted for such increases, is a little disingenuous. They are looking for fig leaves and this will not wash.

The trade union side unanimously rejected the offer. The employers were asked to rethink their position and come to the next meeting with a credible offer.