All out for USS

It's not too late! Universities UK can still commit to meaningful negotiations over pensions and end the strike action.

Pay matters - support the action

HE national negotiations 2017-18

The final timetabled negotiating meeting took place through JNCHES on 27 April and the national employers' representatives UCEA made a final offer, which included an offer of base pay uplift of 1.7%, with higher increases for the lower paid. On other elements:

  • gender pay: UCEA has offered to develop some further joint work with the unions
  • precarious employment: UCEA want to wait for the outcome of the joint working group that already is considering fixed term and variable hours contracts
  • workload/stress: UCEA do not want JNCHES to progress this issue at a UK level
  • Scottish sub-committee: UCEA are interested to receive a report from the trade unions on dialogue that takes place in Scotland with Universities Scotland
  • external examiners: our claim for minimal rates for external examiners has been rejected.

Full details can be found here: UCEA final offer 2017/18 [278kb]

UCU held a consultative e-ballot of members on the offer during June 2017:

  • 64.6% of members voted to accept the offer
  • 51.4% of members voted that they would not be prepared to take industrial action.

There were 59,372 members eligible to vote. Turnout was 48.6%:

View the full report here. [60kb]

In light of this, the union informed UCEA that members have accepted the national offer.


The Joint Higher Education Trade Union National Claim was agreed by the five HE trade unions; UNISON, Unite, EIS, GMB and UCU, and was submitted to UCEA in advance of the first JNCHES negotiating meeting on 30 March 2017.

The claim, which covers pay, equality, workloads and precarious contracts, can be found here.

Previously in February a special meeting of UCU's Higher Education Committee (HEC) had met to discuss and agree our approach to the pay claim and campaign for 2017/18.

The committee considered the key claim and campaign principles and also discussed the locally focused UK-supported model claims covering gender pay and precarious contracts and how best to support and encourage branches in lodging claims.

The committee agreed the principles that UCU should seek to have included in any joint claim:

  • pay claim principle of 'keep up and catch up'
  • proportionate increases to all spine points
  • gender pay equality
  • the reduction in precarious contracts
  • protecting the rate for the job
  • an external examiner claim
  • workload.

With regards to the headline pay demand, HEC's view is that it should be linked to RPI inflation (keep up) and an additional element (catch up).

Last updated: 22 August 2017