On 25 February 2016, Unison launched the national pay campaign for 2016/2017, with the backing of the Higher Education Conference.

The campaign aims to secure a 5% or £1,000 pay rise at all salary pay points; whichever is the greater amount.

The campaign slogan was announced, ‘Invest in my University; Invest in me’.

At the HE conference, delegates also agreed to:

  • To work with the Living Wage Foundation to encourage University’s to become accredited living wage employers
  • To reduce the use of zero hour contracts across the sector
  • To raise the pay campaign with MP’s, the Welsh Assembly members, Scottish MSP’s and in other parts of Unison and also with sympathetic organisations such as the National Union of Students

Delegates also called for a planned campaign of lawful industrial action within the union rules, if such action proved necessary.

The latest news on the pay campaign, follows a meeting between the five higher education unions and UCEA (the employers’ representative body), on 21 March 2016.

The UCEA responded to the trade unions joint claim with an opening pay offer at the meeting. This was rejected by the unions.

The opening offer comprised of a 1% pay increase across all pay points along with a statement that the employer has a genuine interest in exploring whether all sides can agree joint work on reducing both the gender pay gap and casual work within the sector.

The joint unions pointed out that this offer does not address areas such as the living wage and urged the employers to improve their offer before the next meeting.

The next meeting is to be held on 28 April 2016.