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Support staff pay proposals

University releases proposals on support staff pay (and conditions)

The University has released what they describe as their final offer on support staff pay. All trade unions are now moving to consult their members on the proposals. The committee’s view on them is that while generous for some staff, there remain significant issues with the proposals that need to be addressed. You can read more on our dedicated page on the proposals.

Our view on the proposals

Issues identified by the trade unions with the proposals include:

  • Many staff part-way up their bands are receiving very small increases as part of the changes. The revisions are meant to be about fixing long-term unfairness in pay and yet this will leave some staff facing significant real terms pay cuts just this year.
  • The insistence on changing terms and conditions at the same time has massively delayed the process and now means the original target date of January 2023 is likely to be missed by at least six months
  • Changes to rates of pay for antisocial hours are problematic – they could lead to untended consequences by making these hours less attractive to volunteers, and increasing pressure on staff to work more evenings, nights and weekends. The new system also remains unfair and inconsistent with staff in catering excluded for the most part from the new rates

*Important members meetings Friday 17 February*

Our consultation will commence with members meetings this coming Friday. Details as follows:

  • 8am, Arts Lecture Room 1, University of Birmingham (first floor)
  • 1pm, Arts Lecture Room 6, University of Birmingham (second floor)

Both meetings are hybrid – contact us at unisonbham@contacts.bham.ac.uk if you haven’t received a link. 

At the meeting we’ll be proposing the below motion for members to discuss and vote on. This will determine our initial policy towards the proposal.

Motion to be discussed on Friday

his branch notes the final offer received from University management on pay spine reform, comprising:

  • Pay rises of between £0.11 and £1.71 per hour for support staff at different points of each band, with the biggest rises for newer starters. 
  • Significant cuts to rates of pay for working evenings, nights and weekends.
  • A proposal to implement the changes in July or August of this year, after agreement from unions and three months notice being given to all staff.
  • A one off payment of up to £500 because of the delay in implementation. 

This branch also notes that a full consultation of members will be necessary in order to make a decision on such an important and consequential issue. 

While the offer at first glance seems to benefit some staff, this branch believes that many issues remain with the University’s proposal including that:

  • Even though this is the first offer staff at the University have seen (with all other offers being kept confidential), it is a final offer and there has been very limited time allocated for consultation with staff. 
  • Despite this process being about pay and ensuring the University is paying everyone a fair wage, the University has insisted that changes to terms and conditions must be agreed at the same time, massively complicating the talks and leading directly to the delay in implementing the new spine.
  • Many staff who are part way up their respective bands are receiving a much smaller additional increase in pay, while the massive increase in inflation this year has made a pay rise (without strings attached) all the more important.
  • Changes to rates of pay for antisocial hours could have many unintended negative consequences including reduced pay for staff working these hours, difficulty staffing services at nights and weekends and pressure on more staff to work evenings, nights and weekends.
  • The proposal on payments for working antisocial hours remains completely unfair, with staff in catering for example excluded from weekend rates which would apply to all other staff.

This branch therefore resolves to write to the University to state that the recommendation to members will be to REJECT the proposal unless: 

  • The changes to pay structure are clearly separated from terms and conditions, so a proper discussion can take place free of any unfair pressure to agree to a bad deal on evening, weekend and shift pay.
  • All proposals apply to all staff, and no one is arbitrarily excluded from the new system.
  • A fairer system for mapping staff on to the structure is agreed, to properly recognise the importance of experience and knowledge
  • A percentage increase in pay of 6%, backdated to January 2023 is offered in compensation for the delay in implementing the new structure.

If an improved offer is received, this branch resolves to meet again to discuss before a broader consultation commences. If the University confirms they will not improve the offer or no response is received by the 28 February, we resolve to consult all members with a recommendation to REJECT the proposal and to take any actions necessary following this to secure an improved offer. 


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