Questions and answers on latest University offer

We are moving to consult you on the University’s latest offer to staff. We will use this page to try and capture the most frequently asked questions from you. If something is not listed, please write to us at A lot of these assume that the offer is accepted. If members reject the offer then most of these will not apply and our dispute will continue.

Questions on the committee’s position 

What is the committee’s recommendation on the offer?

Currently the committee is making no recommendation on the offer. This is because the University has said they will not solve what we feel is the biggest remaining issue – the exclusion of catering staff from the weekend allowances that are meant to apply to everyone. This is why we are not recommending you accept. The offer does contain some clearly positive and important aspects aside from this, which is why we are not recommending a rejection. We have told the University that we will update our recommendation if they change their mind – so if this happens before the closure of consultation on the 5 July we will let you know.

If catering staff don’t receive weekend allowances at the moment, why is this important?

When the University first presented the SSPR offer, they explained that it needed to change and reduce some allowances in order to have a fair and workable system in place that could apply to all departments. In the committee’s view, the decision to continue to exclude catering from it is therefore completely inconsistent. It’s also against key principles of our branch and union bargaining in general. Everyone should be on the same terms, so the union can negotiate from a simple, united position. This will remain a key campaigning aim for our branch going forward regardless of the result of this consultation – the decision for members is whether we hold off on settling because of it, or accept this now and challenge this practice through different means later.  

Questions on the one off payment and back pay

Do you still get the one off payment and back pay if you’ve already accepted the University’s offer (but you were too late to get them originally)? 

Yes the offer of a one off payment and back pay apply to everyone who:

  • Did not receive them previously
  • Was in post on 31 July 2023
  • Remains in post on 31 August 2024

So this will still include you if you accepted the University’s offer after their original deadlines for giving the payments.

What one off payment could I expect?

They should be the same as the one people previously got for accepting the new contract individually. It is based on your working hours as follows:

Full-time equivalent (how close to full time hours you are) Amount
0.0 – 0.299 £210
0.3 – 0.449 £315
0.45 – 0.599 £420
0.6 – 0.749 £525
0.75 – 1.0 £700


Will the one off payment affect benefits?

One off payments are classed as “non-recurring” payments / or bonuses. They can reduce your entitlement to Universal credit in that month (though you should always end up better off) as they are classed as earnings. Your Universal credit should return to normal the month following this. 

Questions on new terms and conditions

Will I have to agree to the new contract? 

No, if UNISON votes collectively to accept the new terms and conditions all remaining staff on support staff contracts will move over. If we do not vote to accept, then no-one will change contracts. 

Questions on the change to the working week

What will the reduction in working hours mean for pay? 

If you are:

  • full-time (i.e. you currently work 36 hours a week) the offer would simply reduce the number of hours you can work in a week to 35 (7 hours per day) with no loss of pay. Your hourly rate would increase, which would benefit you if you ever work overtime
  • part-time – your pay would increase because you would be closer to a full-time salary (by just under 3%)
  • a shift worker, or otherwise required to work more than full-time hours – your pay would increase to match the increase in your hourly rate (by just under 3%)

I am on an annualised hours contract, would I benefit from the reduction in working hours?

Yes, your number of annual working hours is based on the full-time weekly working hours in the same way as other staff. So your number of annual working hours would decrease, meaning you would reach your annual working hours faster, and have more time off. 

If you are on a part-time annualised hours contract your pay would increase in the same way as other part-time staff.

Questions on the pensions changes

How do I know if I am a member of the “GRP” scheme that is in line for an increase? 

All staff who joined the University after 31 July 2006 (and who haven’t opted out) should be auto-enrolled in the GRP pension scheme, currently provided by Legal and General. The University currently contributes a sum equivalent to 10% of your salary into the scheme as an employer contribution. You can tell if you are making a contribution by checking your payslip and looking for a deduction labelled something like “GPPP Employee Salary Sacrifice”. 

I do not pay into my pension, would I still benefit from the increase the University is offering? 

The University’s increase in their pension contribution (from 10 to 12%) will only be for staff who are already paying at least a 1% contribution to their pension. The University argues that it is standard for pension schemes to require an employee contribution. If you don’t wish to contribute though you can continue benefitting from the University’s current 10% contribution. 

Can I start paying a contribution to benefit from the increased contribution from the University?

Yes you can start paying a contribution at any time. It’s worth noting though that the increase will only happen if UNISON accepts the offer, and then it may take some time for them to implement it. So unless you wanted to increase your contribution anyway, you may wish to wait for confirmation of when the change comes into force. 

I am a member of BPAS, will the pension changes affect me? 

BPAS is a pension scheme for support staff at the University that is now closed to new joiners. This offer should not have any implications for those on BPAS – what you are due to receive from being a member of the scheme is not dependent on the University’s level of contribution, so the pension offer does not apply to you.

Will the change in working hours impact me as a member of BPAS?

No, your entitlements under BPAS are dependent on the proportion of full-time hours you work. The change to a 35 hour week will just change the definition of “full-time” for the purposes of your entitlement (so you shouldn’t lose out)

I receive a “flexible benefit” of 10% into my salary in place of a pension contribution, is there a benefit to me of the offer?

Between 2002 (when BPAS closed) and 2006 (when the GRP scheme came into force) new joiners received a 10% increase to salary in place of a pension scheme, termed a “flexible benefit”. Some staff have been able to keep receiving this by periodically opting out from enrollment in the GRP pension scheme. At the time of writing, we’ve not been advised of a way you can benefit from the 2% increase in pension contribution as someone in receipt of the flexible benefit allowance. If this changes we will let you know.