Unite is dismayed at the opening offer of 0.5 per cent made by the employers in the higher education pay talks affecting 148 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the UK. Unite is angry that the ‘derisory’ offer for 2012/13 by the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) comes hard on the heels of a similar 0.5 per cent offer made for the last financial year – an offer that Unite still disputes. Unite National Officer for Education, Mike Robinson said: “This derisory offer follows the lousy offer of 0.5 per cent in 2011.
“In real terms, this latest offer is not even in line with inflation and represents a slap in the face for hard working university staff who are experiencing increased workloads as student numbers have risen.”
“ Unite reluctantly suspended industrial action on the 2011 offer to enter into these talks – but our good faith has been undermined.”
“If the 2012 negotiations don’t deal with real term pay losses, which even the UCEA admits is about seven per cent drop in pay levels, then these negotiations are heading for the buffers.”
More talks are scheduled between the unions and UCEA for 20th April and 22nd May. Unite represents 20,000 staff – from professors to porters – at HEIs and was the only union to have rejected the offer of £150-a-year for all grades to run from 1 August last year for 2011/12. Unite members voted for industrial action, short of strike action, at the end of last year – and were sticking to the letter of their contracts with no working outside their contractual hours. This has now been suspended in the hope that this year’s pay talks will result in a substantial pay rise.