Stop spinning and start talking on pay and pensions, UCU urges employers

9 October 2019

UCU has today urged university employers to 'stop spinning and start talking' on pay and pensions.

The call comes after the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) published a second misleading report within a week downplaying problems with pay and contracts in the sector, while failing to respond to a call for renewed talks from the Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner.

The latest report, published yesterday, suggests that the use of casual contracts in higher education is declining. UCU said this claim was "totally disingenuous" and ignored the reality that a third of academic staff are on fixed-term contracts and thousands more are employed on precarious 'atypical' contracts.

The publication came just days after the employers' own analysis revealed that pay in higher education has plummeted over the last decade.

UCU said the time had come for the employers to stop spinning and start talking seriously about how to resolve the disputes. It said time spent on obscuring the facts would be better spent on finding long-term solutions to the sector's structural issues.

The union said it was ready to negotiate with the employers in good faith, and called on UCEA to match Universities UK's commitment to return to unconditional talks.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: 'This latest attempt by the employers to downplay the extent of casualisation in the sector is totally disingenuous. The reality is that a third of academic staff are on fixed-term contracts and thousands more are employed on precarious 'atypical' contracts.

'The time has come for the employers to stop spinning and start talking. Instead of downplaying the problems at hand, the employers should pay heed to Angela Rayner and commit to serious negotiations. Time spent obscuring the facts would be much better spent finding long-term, sustainable solutions to the structural problems facing the sector.'

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