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Update on pay negotiations

07 Jun 2018

Details of Universities and Colleges Employer Association (UCEA) offer and its effect on pay

Dear colleagues

Our University aims to provide an attractive pay and benefits package to our staff.  National negotiations on the 2018/19 pay increase across higher education institutions are currently ongoing and our University is committed to reaching a settlement which is both fair for our staff and affordable for our University.

Following my update on 1 May, the Universities and Colleges Employer Association (UCEA) has now made a final offer to increase base pay by 2% or £425, whichever is the higher. At pay spinal point 2, there would be a 2.76% increase and increases of over 2% apply up to and including pay spinal point 15.  

Whilst we do not have any staff on pay spinal point 2, we do have staff on pay spinal points 3-15 who would benefit from the higher percentage increases.  Our University currently meets the Real Living Wage rate of £8.75 per hour, set by the Living Wage Foundation and plans to continue to do so even when this rate next increases. 

The negotiated increase to the spinal pay scale would be awarded in addition to the incremental pay increase, which approximately 56% of our staff also receive as part of the University’s pay progression arrangements.  A typical increment equates to around an additional 3% per annum.

The combined effect of any increase in base pay and the incremental pay increase is that the average pay increase for colleagues would be 3.5%. This is higher than the rate of inflation of 2.2% as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and slightly above the rate of inflation of 3.4% as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Over the past ten years staff pay (national awards plus increments) has grown faster than the cumulative impact of inflation over the same period. 

The information below shows that for an average employee who joined the University in August 2007, their take home pay is 9.73% higher at August 2017 than at the point of engagement when measured against the CPI and 5.12% against the RPI.

Staff Pay Change from base after Inflation and Awards (%)    

Measure of Inflation  Aug 07 to Aug 17 (Ten Years) Aug 12 to Aug 17 (Five Years)
CPI 9.73% 7.29%
RPI 5.12% 2.31%


N.B. The figures for 10 years would apply to an employee who joined on the first point of their grade at August 2007.

The figure for 5 years has the same profile, except they would have joined in August 2012.

From those two start dates, the effect of each measure of inflation and the average pay increase for an employee has been applied on the relevant pay scale. 

The University is spending more on staff as a percentage of its income now than in 2010/11, once the costs of an Early Retirement and Voluntary Severance scheme which were accounted for in 2010/11, are discounted.

Negotiations and dialogue on pay and pay-related issues are carried out by the New Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (New JNCHES), which is made up of representatives from the Universities and Colleges Employer Association (UCEA) and five trade unions.

It is hoped that this final offer will be received positively when trade unions’ members are consulted.  This represents a significant uplift in basic pay recognising the continuing financial challenges and uncertainties the HE sector faces.

We know that our staff are our best asset and the University is committed to ensuring an attractive pay and benefits package for all.

Best wishes

Karen Heaton

Director of Human Resources