The Framework Agreement was signed in June 2003 following national negotiations between UCEA (representatives of British universities) and the Higher Education Trade Unions (Amicus, EIS, GMB, TGWU, UCU (formerly AUT and NATFHE) and Unison). The agreement was in recognition of the need to modernise pay structures and to ensure equal pay for work of equal value. At the centre of the Framework agreement was a single pay spine that would apply to all different staff groups in Higher Education. Following the national negotiations, the implementation of the Framework Agreement took place locally within universities.
The separate Memorandum of Understanding was between UCEA and AUT to secure protection of progression through the new grades.