- UCEA reports into pay and benefits
- New universities could struggle to survive according to credit analysts
- New physics funding programme released
- Let Unite know
- New Confederation of University Workers in the Americas – CONTUA
- Contesting Neo-liberal Education – Public Resistance and Collective Advance
- China nears UK in brain games
- Higher Education at Work consultation
- PhD Graduate Numbers double in Decade in the Republic of Ireland
- Pay varies but Europe lags £18K below American mean
- HEA publishes new national plan for equity of access to higher education
- Job Evaluation Framework – Delivering Equality?
- Unison survey of sector’s clerical employees highlights low pay and lack of respect
- Land of Welcomes aims at Doubling Foreign students in 10 years
- Higher Education Business in the Community survey
- Green League table
UCEA reports into pay and benefits
The University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) have recently released three research documents focusing on pay and workplace benefits in the sector.
Unite National Officer Mike Robinson said, “it is useful to have the employers view however it is not as rosy a picture as painted. The important point to bear in mind is that whilst universities and colleges may have been trying to improve pay and conditions a number have kept working weeks well above the commitment to move to 35 hours in the 2006-2009 pay settlement agreement. Our research shows many still on 37 or 37.5 hours per week. Pay also may seem better but the next increase only keeps pace with inflation. In comparison with private sector employers there is still a lot of catching up to do.
I get the impression that the employers association UCEA are trying to convince themselves that they can settle back as far as the next pay round is concerned. Unite will be seeking better terms and conditions to bring universities into the 21 st Century”
Conditions of employment in Higher Education
The UCEA/IDS ‘Conditions of Employment in Higher Education’ report, the first research project on employment conditions across HE, provides information about core employment conditions – contractual hours of work, leave, family friendly benefits, sick leave and pensions – and the state of play on harmonisation.
Where are we now? The benefits of working in HE
‘Where are we now? The benefits of working in HE’, claims that HE is leading the way across many aspects of working life compared with other sectors. This report is more of an overview and explores the quality of working life in HE in this broader context, embracing issues of equality and diversity practice, well being, pay and pensions as well as the human resources challenges which confront all within the HE sector.
Also click here to read the UCEA Facts and Figures Briefing: summer 2008
New universities could struggle to survive according to credit analysts
Newer British universities may disappear because of global competition forcing them to spend more, a leading ratings agency has warned.
Credit analysis by Standard & Poors warns of “certain universities ceasing to exist” because of increasing competition from China and India and within the UK. The analysis suggests that more research-intensive universities will be in a stronger position to cope but newer, more teaching-focused universities will struggle.
New physics funding programme released
The Science and Technology Facilities Council has released its final amended funding programme after widespread controversy over its initial plans.
The £80 million hole in funding for physics and astronomy was closed with the decision to cut or reduce involvement in a range of national and international projects.
Among the projects to lose their funding are Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network which observes the Sun, and Astrogrid, a virtual observatory. British involvement with BaBar, an American-based study into the differences between matter and antimatter, and Integral, a satellite with the most sensitive gamma ray observatory in space, will come to an end.
Several other projects have had their planned funding reduced including ExoMars, a European Space Agency scheme to land a probe to search for signs of life on Mars, and Minos, which investigates some of the world’s tiniest particles.
Let Unite know
If you are aware of any Unite members affected by these cuts please contact National Officer Mike Robinson, Mike.Robinson@unitetheunion.com and also your regional office.
New Confederation of University Workers in the Americas – CONTUA
The “3rd meeting of workers from Latin America and the Caribbean ” took place on 21-23 May in Buenos Aires , Argentina and set down the foundations for the creation next year of a new organisation – the “Confederation of University Workers in the Americas (CONTUA)”. This body will be part of the Public Services International (PSI) Global Union Federation.
Contesting Neo-liberal Education – Public Resistance and Collective Advance
A new book, written by international scholars and activists, explores the mechanisms and ideologies behind neo-liberal education, while evaluating and promoting resistance on a local, national and global level. Neo-liberal education policies have privatised, marketised, decentralized, controlled and surveilled, and at the same time attacked the rights and conditions of education workers, resulting in a loss of democracy, critique and equality of access and outcome.
The book is being promoted by the PSI global union federation. Click here for more details.
China nears UK in brain games
China is on the verge of overtaking Britain in the world table of the most prolific nations for academic research, government figures reveal.
A report by the data analyst Evidence, published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, shows that Britain produces the largest number of research papers after the US . But the UK only just maintained its lead over China.
While Britain produced 8.63 per cent (79,784) of the world’s papers in 2007 – up 0.06 per cent from 2006 – China published 110 fewer papers, equivalent to 8.62 per cent (79,674) of the world’s output.
China , which has been heavily investing in its research base, has increased the number of research papers it produces over the past decade by a factor of four.
It increased its percentage of the world share by 0.87 per cent between 2006 and 2007. The trend suggests that China will overtake Britain this year.
Higher Education at Work consultation
TUC response to the higher level skills strategy.
The TUC welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Government’s higher level skills strategy, as set out in the Higher Education at Work consultation document.
PhD Graduate Numbers double in Decade in the Republic of Ireland
The number of PhDs awarded in the Republic of Ireland this year is expected to top the 1,000 mark for the first time and marks significant progress towards Ireland ‘s goal to be to the fore as a global centre for research, according to the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
This achievement will be reached as the HEA and higher education institutions prepare to mark the tenth anniversary of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI), which is managed by the HEA on behalf of the Minister for Education and Science. It means that Ireland is well set to meet the ambitious targets of the Government under its Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Pay varies but Europe lags £18K below American mean
Global survey shows up wide variations in career and salary opportunities. John Gill reports
An £18,000 net average pay gap between university faculty in Europe and the US has been highlighted in a global analysis of academic careers.
The study, by the Academic Careers Observatory (ACO), part of the European University Institute’s Max Weber Programme, found that faculty at European universities earned an average salary, after tax, of £31,575, compared with £49,411 in the US.
It also found wide variations in pay within Europe . The average annual salary in the UK is £41,529, which is significantly higher than the European average but still far short of the sums on offer in the US.
HEA publishes new national plan for equity of access to higher education
The Irish Higher Education Authority (HEA) has published a new action plan for equity of access to higher education.
At present, over 55% of the Leaving Certificate age cohort go on to higher education, up from 44% a decade ago but the Government has set a target that would see participation rates over 70% by 2020.
The plan also includes moves to tackle disparity between different socio-economic groups, people with physical and sensory disabilities and sets out an agenda for life long learning opportunities.
Job Evaluation Framework – Delivering Equality?
Unite has released its third Job Evaluation survey to highlight the results of the national framework agreement in UK higher education institutions.
Unison survey of sector’s clerical employees highlights low pay and lack of respect
There is a class divide between clerical staff and academics in higher education, according to most of the sector’s secretaries in a survey by Unison union.
Of 734 secretarial and clerical staff who were questioned by Keele University researchers, fewer than half (46.8 per cent) said that academics afforded them the same respect as they showed other academics.
Just over half of those surveyed took home pay of between £14,000 and £22,000, with 14.5 per cent reporting salaries lower than £14,000. Most said their pay levels were lower than they should be and suggested this was due to a tradition of low pay for clerical work and because low pay is endemic in sectors with a predominantly female workforce.
Others blamed universities giving priority to academic staff; a perception of clerical work as being menial and low skilled; the failure of management to understand the complexity and responsibility that many clerical jobs involve; and a lack of recognition of clerical staff’s qualifications and experience.
Many reported dissatisfaction about their levels of annual leave, which tended to be lower – up to 16 days less – than the entitlement for academic and academic-related staff.
Land of Welcomes aims at Doubling Foreign students in 10 years
The Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Tom Boland, has stated that Ireland should aim to double the number of full-time non-Irish third level students studying here from 12,000 at present to 24,000 over the next decade.
Over the past decade, overseas student numbers here have increased by 170% with students from the United States forming the biggest cohort of non-Irish students.
Higher Education Business in the Community survey
The Higher Education – Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey reveals that higher education’s contribution to the economy continued to grow in 2006-07, reaching record levels. UK higher education institutions (HEIs) received £2.64 billion from business and community interaction in 2006-07. This is a 17 per cent rise from the last survey (for 2005-06).
Green League table
Student Campaigning Organisation People & Planet has released its second league table of universities based on their commitment to environmental sustainability. Mike Robinson National Officer said “This is a useful benchmark to compare Higher Education Institutions against. It has quickly become a “must see” table for all HEI’s. Unite though thinks its time to raise the bar for any future Green League table. One of then elements is how much any HEI engages the workforce by means of joint union participation in any further commitment. We hope People and Planet will take on this for a future measurement.”
Click here to see the table:
This e-bulletin has been produced by James Lazou, Research Officer for the Higher Education sector. If you have any news items or stories you would like included in the bulletin please contact James.