Friday, 30 September 2016

PGMDE Integration, Management Response to Unison’s Proposals

Following close of consultation on 7 September, HEE management, after negotiations with the Branch,  provided their response  to the consultation included an amended set of proposals, yesterday, 29 September, which we set out below.

Please note, these proposals are subject to certain assumptions about VR rates which cannot be guaranteed (as VR applications are a matter for individual employees, which they are free to withdraw should they so wish) and therefore we cannot provide an absolute guarantee that provisions below will take place. However, given the current number of VR applications (75) and resignations (15), we are optimistic that we can achieve the following key outcomes:
  • No compulsory redundancies will be made
  • No selection process will be required for the vast majority of staff. Most staff will be slotted into the new structure.
In addition the following provisions have been made:
  • The revised proposal will be subjected to an externally conducted Equality Impact Assessment
  • Current part-time and flexible working arrangements have been guaranteed
  • The timeline for implementation has been extended until September 2017
  • Secondments will be reviewed and evaluated as whether they can be considered as a ‘permanent’ positions for the purposes of post-matching
  • Technology solutions will be subjected to rigorous testing, and an evaluation of their capacity to provide efficiency savings will be undertaken. This will take place prior to the reduction in staffing which will be achieved through VR
  • A stakeholder engagement exercise will be undertaken
Given the above, we believe that we have secured the majority of provisions which we sought as part of our response to the consultation.

The exceptions to the ‘no selection’ provisions are likely to be staff being considered for posts at Level 8a, who will be required to demonstrate competency tests. We have secured assurance from senior management that affected employees will be supported through training and development should these not be met, and will be provided with in-job training and trailing. We therefore believe that ultimately all those affected wishing to continue at this level will be able to do so.

There is also a possibility that a very small handful of staff currently employed between levels 5 and 7 may have to be subjected to a selection process. This will be purely for the purposes of determining post allocation. Ultimately we hope that this does not need to take place. 

Finally we wanted to speak about VR. The current number of applications is 75, which exceeds the numbers of WTE post reductions. This number is in addition to a number of resignations and it will therefore not be possible for the organisation to approve all of the applications that have been made.

We are aware that some members had queries surrounding their VR applications following the HET bulletin which was circulated recently. To clarify: if you have special extenuating circumstances pertinent to your VR application which you have either not detailed on your application, or which have arisen since you made your application, then you will be afforded an opportunity to do this following the release of the management response to consultation. You are welcome to do this immediately, if you so wish, by contacting HR. If you would prefer it if we did this on your behalf then we are happy to.

We believe that the undertakings that we have secured from senior management provides an acceptable way forward that means that no-one will be made compulsorily redundant and that most members will not be subjected to a selection process. Our requests for additional measures around the timeline, technology reviews, equality impact assessment and protection of part-time and flexible working have also been incorporated. 

The deadline for us to provide any additional comments to management is next Thursday (6 October) and so we would welcome any thoughts that you may have on this which we may be able to pass on.

We also understand that members may have queries about their individual circumstances given the information we have provided in this correspondence. We are, of course, more than happy to answer any such questions you may have. Please email us on

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Uplift of annual leave for grades 1-6

Following the conclusion of negotiations in June 2016, the University has announced an uplift of 2 days for grades 1-6s’ annual leave allowance. This falls short of our original demand for 30 days parity across all grades. Nonetheless, the offer was the best that could be achieved by negotiation, and was supported by members in our consultative ballot.

We reserve our right to revisit the issue in the future, and have not abandoned our longer term goal of parity between the grades.

UNISON’s Higher Education Pay

UNISON’s HE pay ballot closed on 19 September and UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) met on 20 September to consider the outcome. The ballot result was: 

3,381 (54.9%) voted in favour of industrial action 
2,782 (45.1%) voted against industrial action

After the meeting it issued the following statement:
“The HESGE took into account the close vote in the ballot, a disappointing turnout and the knowledge that it was likely that if UNISON did take strike action it would not be with all other unions (due to notable differences in positions and timetables). Joint union action has been key to previous successful action.

Taking this into account it was reluctantly agreed that UNISON would not take industrial action on this occasion. The HESGE felt that the ballot results and views from regions meant that the union could not deliver a sufficiently strong strike to force the employers to improve their derisory pay offer. 

UNISON is committed to national pay bargaining and will continue to campaign to improve members pay, terms and conditions in higher education.   Further discussions will take place at UNISON’s forthcoming HE branch seminar, which will also focus on the need to build membership and engage members in future industrial action ballots.”

We recognise that many members will be disappointed by this outcome given that the Branch voted by a clear majority in a consultative ballot to support industrial action. However, given the direction issued by the HESGE, we regret to say that we are not able to proceed to industrial action. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

PGMDE Consultation - UNISON's Second Response

Consultation on the proposed cuts and restructure within the Healthcare Education Team for the London & South East Local Education and Training Board of Health Education England (HEE) closed on 7 September 2016.

Prior to this, UNISON Senate House Branch submitted a second response to the consultation which you can read here.

The branch is now entering a process of negotiations with senior management in which we will be seeking the best possible deal for our members and will be seeking to avoid the need to make staff compulsorily redundant. We will also be discussing the timeline for the proposed changes and will be seeking to extend this for the reasons outlined in our responses.

If members have any queries then please contact the branch via

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

UNISON statement on the proposed 1.1% pay offer

UNISON members will be receiving their ballot paper to vote on whether to take industrial action on the current pay offer over the next few days. The ballot period runs from 30 August to 19 September 2016. The ballot helpline opens 5 September 2016 and the number is 0800 0857 857.

The higher education service group executive is recommending members vote ‘YES’ for strike action in response to the employer’s miserly 1.1% pay offer for the majority of staff.

You may be aware that last week the employers' produced an expanded 'draft offer' ahead of UNISON’s industrial action ballot. This was published via the employer’s website following a UCEA Board meeting. No discussion took place with any of the trade unions ahead of the announcement.

However, despite the sector facing the potential for escalating strike action in the autumn the revised draft had very little change in the detail, and no movement on the main sticking point: the 1.1% pay offer. It also appears that the national employers ‎negotiating body (UCEA) has recommended to Universities that they should implement the draft offer to staff, in effect imposing the current offer, even before the outcome of industrial action ballots are known.

UNISON sees this move as provocative and unnecessary given the employers stated commitment to keep channels open for dialogue. As yet the employers  have made no attempt to approach the unions in dispute for further talks.

UNISON members  who will receive ballot papers in the coming days will see through this attempt to influence the vote for in the industrial action on this miserly offer. In fact, by imposing this offer it  once more highlights just how little the offer is worth for the majority of staff.
UNISON has outlined the growing pay inequality in higher education and has produced  a salary calculator that clearly shows how far behind wages have fallen behind the cost of living. Full details can be found here:

Find more UNISON news on: