National pay bargaining essential for equitable sector, says UCU

5 July 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today reiterated its commitment to national pay bargaining amid attacks from the outgoing chair of the university employers' body the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) Alasdair Smith.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said she had little interest in threats from UCEA and wanted to reiterate her commitment to national bargaining for academic and related staff in higher education.

Sally Hunt said: 'UCU remains committed to national bargaining as the most efficient way to agree pay and conditions. The alternative for both unions and management is more local resources required, more local inequality, more local disputes and less stability in the academic labour market, which is vital to our country's future well being.

'I have said many times that UCEA's credibility rests on being able to speak with authority for those it represents. Yet many in the sector will be appalled to read the highly inflammatory and macho tone of Alistair Smith's and Bill Wakeham's comments in the press which seem designed to create a dispute where none yet exists.

'UCU members will also be incredulous to see UCEA taking credit for recent pay advances.  It is true that the deal agreed last year and the modernisation reached in 2004 have delivered some pay gains especially when compared to other public workers but in both cases why did it take major national disputes before employers were prepared to improve their offers. If UCEA really want to invest in university staff why is it we always have to drag them kicking and screaming towards a fair settlement.

'UCU remains committed to national bargaining as the most efficient way to agree pay and conditions. The alternative for both unions and management is more local resources expended, more local inequality, more local disputes and less stability in the academic labour market, which is vital to our sector's future well being.'

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