1 November 2011

Unite to ballot members over national pay award

The University has received notification from Unite the Union that they intend to ballot their members in November over the current national pay negotiations between the University employers’ representatives, UCEA, and the five recognised unions.

The University employers have made a final offer of a £150 uplift to all points on the grading structure. This offer has been made in an environment of exceptionally difficult funding settlements for 2011–12 and the considerable uncertainty facing the higher education sector at the present time and into the future. The context for the pay offer includes the pay freeze for the majority of public sector employees, further financial challenges and uncertainties arising from changes to funding and the recent White Paper and austerity measures in the devolved administrations.

The final offer has been made in recognition of the difficulties faced by the lower paid staff working in the sector due to the rising cost of living. Updates on the 2011-12 national pay negotiations can be found on our web pages at http://www.shef.ac.uk/hr/reward/paynegotiation

This dispute is completely separate from the local discussions over changes to USPS which are still on-going, and the changes to USS, the national pension scheme for staff on grades 6 and above which were implemented at the start of October.

Though not explicitly stated in the notification of ballot from Unite, it is likely that the timing of this is intended to provide the opportunity, should they receive a mandate for strike action, to join together with the national day of action planned by public sector unions in relation to public sector pension reforms on 30 November.

The University is committed to ensuring that the impact of any industrial action is minimised, particularly in relation to the student experience. Should Unite receive a mandate for industrial action, work will be undertaken to plan for and respond to any action that is taken by members of Unite. More information will be provided as it becomes available.