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HE pay framework agreement

24 October 2006

The pay framework agreement was negotiated by the higher education unions and the employers over a two year period and was finalised in March 2004. It required the employers to implement a new HE pay spine and associated pay and grading arrangements by no later than 1 August 2006.

We are making every effort to ensure that those who have not yet implemented the agreement do so quickly, with implementation backdated to an effective date of 1 August 2006.

The main features of the agreement are that all staff will be paid according to rates on a national pay spine and that academic and academic-related staff are graded according to a national grading structure which is supported by a library of national role profiles setting out the nature of the roles within each of the new grades.

There are slight differences in the procedures in place for implementing the deals between pre-92 and post-92 institutions. In particular pre-92 staff have some additional grading protections, set down in the Memorandum of Understanding agreed between AUT as was, and the employers' association, the UCEA.

In post-92 institutions it also means that for the first time hourly paid lecturers are guaranteed equal treatment with full-time and fractional colleagues and will receive increments and other benefits.

UCU has since 2004 been monitoring the implementation of the agreement and providing support and assisting local branch activists to enable them to negotiate acceptable terms for implementation within each institution.


Like any national agreement between the union and employers, branches and local associations will need to make sure each institution implements the national principles properly.

If any employer fails to adopt an acceptable pay and grading structure, UCU is prepared to take appropriate industrial action in order to ensure that they do.

Pay framework ratification procedure

UCU branches and local associations are required to submit each local implementation agreement to a national ratification committee for approval before the agreement can be finalised at local level.

The committee examines each agreement to ensure that the terms comply with UCU policy in each area of the framework agreement. This process ensures that the agreement is implemented in a consistent manner throughout the pre-92 and the post-92 sector. Elements of a local agreement that are considered not to meet the terms of UCU policy are referred back to the branch or local association with advice on how to achieve improvements to the terms of the agreement.

This process allows UCU branches to ensure that the terms of their implementation agreement fully meet the national agreement and are comparable to those agreed in other institutions.

Negotiators' resources

Resources for branch and local association negotiators on implementing the Framework agreement (where appropriate as amended by the Memorandum of Understanding) are available from the framework negotiators' resources page.

Last updated: 11 March 2019