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When is a pay rise not a pay rise ?

When the pay rise offered is so low that it does not even keep up with the increased cost of living.

That is precisely what has happened to staff working in higher education in every year from 2009 to 2013. Only in 2014, when UCU members took significant and sustained action in the face of yet another real-terms pay cut was a better offer forthcoming from your employers.   Read more …

HE pay index 2009-2015

pay poster

“I’m worth it” – Vice Chancellor defends her enormous pay increases

As we have done each year since 2011, campus unions wrote to members of the University Remuneration Committee before their annual meeting on 9th July.   We have not so far heard back from the Remuneration Committee, and its decisions were not reported to its parent body – University Council – which met later the same day.

In a newspaper interview, Vice Chancellor Glynis Breakwell has defended the enormous pay rises she has received in the last eight years.   Using words that will inflame most people working in higher education she said  “I’m worth it.   I’ve been in the job a long time and you do tend to get increases over time in most jobs.”  Most people working in HE have seen  the value of their pay fall by 15% in the last eight years.

UCU is challenging the Vice Chancellor’s refusal to disclose her expenses, in line with disclosures made by most other Vice Chancellors, and published recently in the national UCU report Transparency at the Top.

UCU members reject 1% pay offer

Members have rejected the employers’ 1% pay offer for 2015. With private sector pay deals approaching 3% and members facing increased pensions contributions from April 2016, the 1% offer will mean a further cut in the value of our pay.   UCU will write to the Universities and Colleges Employers Associate (UCEA) and invoke the New JNCHES dispute resolution procedure.

Pay talks stall but UCU makes national and local gains for members

Last week’s branch meeting heard a detailed report from our delegates to UCU national congress, and also news of a couple of wins for union members nationally and locally.

The employers’ pay offer remains at 1%, with slightly higher increases for those in Grades 1 and 2.   UCU is recommending members to reject this offer, which consolidates our 15% loss of pay since 2009.  Members will be consulted on the offer in an e-ballot starting this week

Nationally UCU have defeated an attempt by the University of Warwick to create a new agency for hourly paid teaching staff, TeachHigher.   Terms and conditions of employment would have been even worse than those on offer to hourly paid staff currently.  Their plan was to roll this out nationally, so its collapse is a significant victory.

Locally UCU is continuing to seek improvements to the terms and conditions of casualised staff at the University of Bath, and there will be a further meeting with university managers on this later in June.

The university has withdrawn its plan to change the way that lecture recording is organised.  The existing system, where staff opt IN to recording rather than opting OUT, will continue.  This follows strong representations from local UCU reps.

UCU has won concessions for some of our student members who are resident tutors.   Those who are Tier 4 visa holders were facing the prospect of losing all their opportunities for paid work but following a productive dialogue with university managers this has been mitigated.

UCU is supporting the anti-austerity demonstration in London on 20th June.   There are coaches from Bath.


Employers want to cut pay again: branch meeting Thursday 7th May 1.15 pm 1E2.4

In the national pay negotiations, employers have now responded to the joint union pay and pay equality claims for 2015.  The offer of 0.9% on all points on the 51 point pay scale represents a further cut in the value of pay for those on the pay scale.   This is in addition to the 15% fall in the value of pay AND increased pension contributions since 2009.  The employers have also refused to enter into any negotiations on pay equality to address the off-the-scale explosion of high earners’ pay in the last 6 years.  You can read full details of the employers offer here. 

The University of Bath has been at the forefront in the push to drive up the pay of high earners and drive down the pay of everybody else.  Latest data from THE shows that Bath is sitting on one of the biggest surpluses for universities of its type, while at the same time it has been driving down staff costs as a share of total income.  In 2009, staff costs represented 61% of total income at the University of Bath.   This year the figure is 52%.  

The effect of this is that many of the jobs in this University are paid at lower grades than in other universities.  We will discuss this offer at a branch members’ meeting NEXT THURSDAY 7th MAY 1.15 pm in 1E2.4.   Please see the attached motion from the branch committee.   

Another win for hourly paid workers at Bath

The trade unions have been informed that one part of our demand for hourly paid workers to be treated the same as permanent staff has been agreed. From next week hourly paid workers will be paid a minimum of £7.85 an hour. Hundreds of campus workers, many of them students, will benefit from this, which was welcomed in the SU newspaper Bath Impact. (more…)

Pressure growing for University to pay Living Wage

Living WageTwo well supported lobbies of University Council and University Court have put pressure on the University managers to pay the Living Wage to all staff.  Two years ago, the Vice Chancellor of Bath University – in a year when she received a record 25% pay increase – told UNISON she would not pay the Living Wage to hundreds of low paid workers at the University. Following pressure from all three unions, including UCU, the Vice Chancellor decided to pay a discretionary ‘pay supplement’ – in reality a tip – to 200 permanent and fixed term staff whose pay was less than the level of the Living Wage. This left another 1000 + hourly paid workers – bar and café staff, cleaners and many other kinds of job earning less than the Living Wage. This week’s protests were bigger, noisier and better supported than ever before.  They were so noisy that the VC had to sneak Chancellor Prince Edward into the meeting by the back door.   If we all keep this up it is only a matter of time before we win the Living Wage for everybody who works at the University of Bath.


Hourly paid staff – have you been underpaid ?

Are you an hourly-paid worker?   The University probably owes you money.   The university unlawfully underpaid all hourly-paid staff (those who submit time-sheets) from April 2009. This was noticed in October 2014 by a postgrad student, who told UCU.   UCU pointed out the error to HR, and since October 2014 the University has paid the correct holiday pay (equating to a rise in the hourly rate of pay of around 1.2%). (more…)

Living Wage ? Not at the University of Bath. Lobby University Council Thursday 27th November

University of Bath has hundreds of staff earning less than the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour.   Already known as one of the heaviest users of zero hours contracts, the University pays 28 of its 80 casual job titles below LW.  Many of those earning below LW are students who are trying to top up their inadequate government maintenance loans and grants – amounts that even the most thrifty person in an area with a low cost of living would find it difficult to live on, let alone a student in Bath.  The maximum that students with the lowest household incomes can get is £7,249 per year.  Bath SU is calling for their members who work at the university to be paid a minimum of LW rates.

Trade union members at the university will be joining students to lobby University Council members this Thursday 27th November at 3.45 pm.   Join us outside the Wessex House Restaurant from 3.45 pm.

You can also add your name to the petition to the Vice Chancellor calling for all university staff to be paid a minimum of the Living Wage


A rise in your pay, an attack on your pension – we need to build the union

This week all university staff will see their pay increase by 2% as a result of the joint industrial action taken by UCU, UNISON and Unite members earlier this year. The increase barely allows us to keep pace with inflation, and does nothing to make up for the last five years of wage cuts, but there is no doubt that without our sustained action we would have seen a substantially worse offer, and yet another cut in real-terms pay

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