Monday, 26 January 2015

London Weighting Freeze Unfrozen

At the University of London, London Weighting had been frozen at £2134 for the past 22 years. With the increasing costs of living and working in London, staff at the University of London have seen housing, transport and other costs rise whilst the allowance that is meant to offset this issue has remained at the same levels as in 1992.

The branch committee and members of the branch, as well as the UCU branch, took the decision to launch a joint-campaign aimed at increasing London Weighting for all staff. The branch held information stalls and produced posters on the increasing costs of livings in London, in 1992 the cost of a weekly 1-6 travel card was £23.70, now it is £57.20. The average house price in London was £70,000, whilst now it is £375,795. The issue was important to staff and was reflected in the level of engagement of members and non-members alike. After the first negotiation meeting with the University, the UNISON and UCU negotiating team produced an online survey where they asked members of staff to tell their stories about how the rising costs of working in London were affecting their lives and standard of living. The response rate was high, a summary of the survey as well as statics and quotes were used in the second round of negotiation meetings to illustrate arguments and the importance of the issue to staff. 

The final offer from the University was to raise London Weighting to £3500 by 2018. This would mean a 64% increase in London Weighting. Although it fell short of the original claim of an uplift to £4000, the branch consulted with members through an e-ballot and 74% of votes were to accept the offer. Without the engagement of members and non-members with the campaign, success would not have been possible and London Weighting would still be frozen.

On hearing the news, one member thanked the branch “Wow,  we have waited a very long time for this, 23 years if I'm correct, as someone who voted to accept the offer, thanks Unison for all your help in securing us a better deal for future years.”

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