Fighting fund banner


'UCU rising' share image - white on pink

Update on our HE pay negotiations

24 February 2023

This morning the employers' representatives UCEA has written to all institutions saying there is no agreement on pay, and they are recommending universities pay the first part of the pay award.

I wanted to give you UCU's perspective on this.

The first thing to say is that any pay increase is as a direct result of your strike action - the employer did not even want to make an offer at this level.

The second is that this has no impact whatsoever on our dispute and reballot. UCU is fighting for an increase to this pay award, and as far as we are concerned no dispute will be settled until you as members have a vote on a fully rounded offer, which will include: pay, casualisation, workload, pay inequality and pensions in our other dispute.

We know that finances are a major issue for members, particularly during the worst cost of living crisis in recent memory. On that basis members should see this development as a positive one - your action has resulted in money in your pockets, and if you continue to support your union, the opportunity to increase that. We have made progress towards establishing agreed terms of reference for negotiations on the review of the HE pay spine and will be back in Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) next week to continue these negotiations.

Employers believe that by imposing the pay award they will lessen your resolve to vote yes in the reballot. I know this is a tactical error on their part. I know that where employers have tried this in disputes in other sectors the approach has backfired, and I am confident this will be the case here.

Disputes are never about what the employers do, they are only ever about what WE do as a collective. On this basis our job is to deliver the biggest possible yes vote in the reballot, support strike action if necessary, and create a wave of pressure that leads to the sector-defining agreements you desperately need and deserve.

Talks through Acas will continue next week on the terms of reference for negotiations on the pay spine and on workload, job insecurity and equality pay gaps.

What you and every member you know needs to do is keep voting

Win the ballot. Win the dispute.

In solidarity

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Last updated: 24 February 2023