Strikes involving university support staff called off
Strikes due to take place over the next two weeks involving university support staff have been called off.
Unions issued a joint statement with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) following talks at the conciliation service Acas.
Unions said there has been an agreement from the employers to give more money to the lowest paid in higher education and undertake a review of salary grades of all staff.
Both sides have agreed to further talks to discuss the grading issue, as well as other concerns including zero-hours contracts.
Unison’s head of education Mike Short said: “Improving the wages of the lowest paid university employees is a crucial step. Cleaners, domestic staff and others at the bottom of the pay scales have been in dire need of help.
“The pay structure in the sector has been unfit for purpose for years, with far too many staff earning just the minimum wage with little chance to progress in their careers.
“The fact that talks are to continue is a positive move. It’s vital that progress is made in improving the wages of everyone working in higher education.”
UCEA, representing 144 higher education employers, made a final pay offer of between 8% and 5% from August 2023 – with a proportion of that to be paid from February, some six months in advance of the usual pay uplift date.
Raj Jethwa, UCEA’s chief executive, said: “UCEA accepted Acas’ services as the right thing to do in an attempt to reach a settlement and to meet our original objective of getting an affordable uplift to all staff sooner than usual.
“Despite strike action and further threats of disruption, and in recognition of how inflation disproportionately affects lower paid staff, employers remain committed to this early implementation.
“Our intention is to see this is paid in March pay packets, backdated to February. It will be unfair to delay the early pay uplift to all staff any longer.
“While the impact of strike action continues to be low and isolated, this is about a final attempt from employers and trade unions to achieve an outcome upon which both parties can consult their members.”
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