University employers offer staff fourth pay cut in as many years

Unions representing university workers* rejected a ‘disappointing’ 0.5% offer and called on the employers to come back with a more serious suggestion on 25 April 2013.

The unions said the offer, coupled with a refusal to bring in the Living Wage as a minimum wage in the sector, is especially insulting given the recent pay increases that university bosses have enjoyed at the same time as staff have been hit with four years of real-terms pay cuts.

The unions said that as staff costs had dropped again in 2012, now was the time to make up for years of cutting pay, despite workloads continuing to increase.

The two sides are due to meet again on Wednesday 8 May and the unions hope the employers will come back with an improved offer and ways to address other areas of concern including workloads, the culture of casualisation, and the gender pay gap.

Donna Rowe- Merriman, head of higher education at UNISON, said:

“It is extremely disappointing that the current employers’ offer does nothing to address the issue of a Living Wage for the lowest paid, or to ease the pressure of four years of real terms pay cuts that have hit living standards hard. UNISON is seeking an improved offer from the employers at future negotiations – our members are desperately in need of some relief.”

University and College Union (UCU) head of higher education, Michael MacNeil, said:

“As an opening gambit, this is very disappointing from the employers and represents a fourth year of pay cuts. Staff costs fell again in 2012 and institutions’ reserves are strong.

“As inflation continues to rise and vice-chancellors continue to enjoy inflation-busting pay rises the employers need to come back with a serious offer and address the issue of a living wage for the lowest paid.”

* UCU, Unison, Unite, GMB and EIS

Source: UNISON website