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Note regarding latest UCEA offer

11 January 2023

The following is a transcript of my audio note released in response to the offer from Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) regarding the higher education pay and working conditions dispute, received on Wednesday 11 January 2023 late evening.

Evening, everyone. I am sorry not to be on camera--I am travelling--but we have some breaking news, and I wanted to get this audio note to you as soon as possible.

I am coming on here tonight to let you all know that we have received a pay offer from UCEA. It is a tiered offer based on grade, but in essence it amounts to a 5.1% pay increase, with part paid in February and part paid in August.

Let me get straight to the point. This is not enough. It does not cover last year, and it does not do enough to mitigate either the cost of living crisis or the years of pay decline that you have suffered, and I will be recommending to our higher education committee (HEC) tomorrow that we reject this offer and seek further improvements.

But what I do want to say, though, is: well done. Well done to all of you. This ballot got them back in the room. The strike action got us an offer.

This is the first time in recent memory that we have received a revised offer publicly. It shows the strategy that we have adopted is exactly the right one.

So, whilst we are recommending 'reject', we do welcome this from the employer. It is a step in the right direction, and it suggests that, like us, they want an end to this dispute. They want an end to disruption on campus.

What I urge now is that the employer revises this offer further, and puts more money on the table. We need to get onto other crucial work of negotiating how we close equality pay gaps, reduce workload, and put an end to needless levels of precarity in our sector.

Our job is to keep on doing exactly what we have been doing. The branch delegate meeting (BDM) voted to continue escalating our action and introduce a marking and assessment boycott (MAB) in April if required, and to also launch a re-ballot campaign. The higher education committee (HEC) will meet tomorrow [Thursday 12 January] to discuss all of this.

I do not want to overplay this moment, or underplay it. It is not enough. But now we have a base. Keep backing your union, and we will win this dispute.

Last updated: 18 January 2023