UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) met last week, to discuss the dispute around pay 2012-13, and the union’s strategy for the pay campaign.
The unions’ claim had been for a pay increase of 7%, comprising an element to match inflation, and an element to provide ‘catch-up’ following several years of sub-inflation pay increases – in other words, real terms pay cuts. The employers have offered an increase of just 1%.
UNISON’s HE branches consulted members about the 1% pay offer in June, and the result was a clear rejection, by a margin of two to one.
Since then, further dispute resolution meetings have taken place between the unions and the employers, but no increase in the offer has been forthcoming. The HESGE therefore agreed this week that we should seek, alongside the other trade unions in HE, to meet with the national employers’ side at ACAS, in a final attempt to get a significant improvement in the pay offer. It is hoped that these talks will take place in the next fortnight.
The HESGE also agreed that we should continue preparations for an industrial ballot, in the event that the ACAS talks fail. If the pay offer is not improved significantly, members will be balloted on whether they are prepared to take strike action to fight for a fair pay increase, with a recommendation that they vote ‘yes’ for strike action.
The ballot would take place in September – branches will be kept fully informed of developments, dates, and deadlines, and branches will be sent a range of campaign materials, recruitment materials, and background information, in advance of the ballot.
In the meantime, branches, reps and members are encouraged to visit http://www.unison.org.uk/he-pay2012 for the latest news.