Strike Ballot over pay

investinmeUNISON is balloting members in higher education in August /September, urging them to vote ‘Yes’ for strike action for better pay. The decision of the higher education  service group executive was taken following a consultation with branches. The employers have so far refused to increase their 1.1% offer for the majority of staff that also does not deliver the Living Wage for the lowest paid.

The average pay rise for Vice Chancellors in 2014/15 was a whopping 6.1% rising to an average of £274,405! UNISON has called the offer ‘deeply hypocritical’ – as staff are offered a miserly 1.1% to cover their rising household bills – while at the same Vice
Chancellors have called for a 2.8% increase in tuition fees in England to cover University ‘costs’.

Despite low inflation, essential costs such as Council Tax, water bills, public transport and car parking have all gone up this year.

UNISON believes that an increase is affordable – money is available for a higher pay increase this year universities holding cash surpluses of nearly £21billion! And the need for our members is urgent.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales reported a total surplus of £60m, while the English funding body (HEFCE) reported in March 2016 a surplus of nearly £1.8bn! Scotland Universities posted a surplus of £166m and Northern Ireland had a surplus of £27m.

UNISON believes that universities can afford to improve on their miserly offer.
Donna Rowe-Merriman, UNISON’s head of higher education said: “Pay offers below the cost of living since 2009 mean that our members have lost the equivalent of between £1585 – £8428 a year.

Final proposals for re-organisation and voluntary severance decisions

The final proposals for the re-organisation and Voluntary Severance decision are due to be announced next week. Because the chair Dave Thompson and deputy chair Hazel Eldred will be on holiday next week you can contact Sultan at regional HQ who can pick up any issues for members and set up meetings if necessary. His email is

AGM to be held Wed 24th February 2016

The UNISON AGM which will be held on Wednesday 24 February 2016 (tomorrow) at 10:30 in DG017. Leonie from the Regional Office will attend to talk to us about our pensions and the changes taking effect from April 2016.

All members are welcome to attend the branch’s annual general meeting. We hope to see you there. Refreshments will be provided.

Call for ideas for a summer event

As you may remember, the branch arranged a summer day out for our members and their families to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park last summer.  This summer we are hoping to run a similar event on a Saturday in July or August.  Ideas so far are:

  • A trip to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield in the morning and on to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the afternoon.  Entry to both is free and UNISON would provide a free coach.
  • A day at Tatton Park in Cheshire – Mansion, Gardens and Farm.  Entry to all 3 is £11  – UNISON may be able to negotiate a discount on this and will pay for the coach travel).
  • A show at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in Haxby Road – note that these are mostly evening shows.

We will also welcome any ideas put forward by members.

Please let know if you are interested in any of these events or email or if viewing this message via the Unison blog then scroll down to respond.



Don’t suffer in silence – UNION welfare

Are you aware that UNISON has a welfare fund to help members with a variety of matters, such as:

  • Help for members suffering financial hardship
  • Advice for those in debt
  • Advice on benefit entitlements
  • Advice on access to victim support services

The UNISON welfare officer for Yorkshire and Humberside region is Anne Szcepanska.  Anne has recently helped somebody who was off work due to ill health and was receiving half pay.  The member was suddenly unable to pay rent and bills  for gas and electricity and was struggling to buy food.  UNISON was able to help with those bills and pay for some food and clothing to tide the family over until the member could get back to work.

Anne can also put people in touch with relevant agencies and departments for support, advice and benefits.  Wellbeing breaks can be accessed depending on your financial situation.

For more information, please call 020 7121 5620 or email  or contact York St John branch officers.

See leaflet for further information

Branch Executive