Update – Support staff were told that the University’s offer was 1.2% better than the national offer. This is not true

Dear members, 

You were told that the University’s offer was 1.2% better than the national offer. 

For example, Tim Jones said on 30th August 2019 that:

We understand that staff earning the lowest salaries can be most affected by rises in the costs of living and cuts in government services. This is why we put forward a 3% pay increase, significantly higher than the 1.8% increase being offered to support staff at other universities…”

As our motion to today’s members meetings stated, this is not true. This email gives a bit more detail about this and our latest discussions with the University.

The national offer of 1.8% (this is the headline percentage) has been rejected by UCU, UNITE, and UNISON nationally. All these unions are currently holding national ballots, and this might mean us taking action jointly with UCU (who are part of the national dispute). The national offer does include some higher increases for the bottom of the spine, which taper off as you get higher up the scale. For example, the lowest paid staff nationally will be receiving a rise of 3.65% and the rise only reaches 1.8% when you get to staff paid £22,659 per year.  

The University has tried to justify the lower percentage rise they are offering to the lowest paid by matching jobs and spinal points at the University with those at other Universities that use the same grading system (a fairly technical and subjective exercise). However, even considering this, their offer is at best the same as national and in some cases worse, with members at the University still on a lower hourly rate than those the University has chosen for the comparison. They are also focusing a lot on the very bottom of the scale – but they will already need to increase salaries for the bottom of the scale to meet the new Living Wage rate due to be announced in November (so the percentage rise isn’t as generous as it looks!).

There is an indication from the university that they are prepared to make a graduated offer, starting from the same rate as national (3.65%). However, even with this, their offer is very close to (the rejected) national offer, and still worse for some spinal points. 

For example:

  • Some Band 300 staff would get a mere 1p/hour more than the national offer. If you’re on spinal point 22 (2nd point of band 300), the 3% offer for you would be a final hourly rate of £9.73, compared to the University’s “comparator” who would get £9.72 on a 3.53% rise. If the University was to formally offer a “graduated” rise matching the national one, your final hourly rate would be £9.77, only 5p above the national offer. Clearly not “significantly higher” as Tim Jones claimed!
  • Even worse elsewhere on Band 300 – if you’re on spinal point 26 (5th point on band 300, requiring a performance related increase), the offer would remain at 3% for you, meaning an hourly rate of £10.23, and 5p below the University’s national comparator.

Finally, the university has made no commitment to seeking living wage accreditation either, and no firm commitments in relation to the other demands. The above does not yet reflect a formal offer from the University, and we’re still committed to trying to improve it in negotiations. But we strongly feel that the University promised staff a “significantly better” offer than the national one, and they need to pay up!

Please feel free to forward this email to non-union members and encourage them to join us!

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