Today, the UCU announced their acceptance of the 2% pay increase for 2014-15. This comes after previous calls for a marking boycott had been postponed, and a vote was called to allow for members to consider the new pay offer.
84% voted to accept the offer and call off the marking boycott and 16% voted to reject it. A total of 30,141 votes were counted in the ballot, a turnout of 52.6 per cent.
This result is a tremendous achievement for both staff and students. Through united pressure, our protest and call for a fairer deal have finally forced UCEA to reconsider its pay offer to staff. Disruption for students has been prevented, and now, lecturers and administrators have secured improvements on their previously motionless salaries. The 2% pay offer, whilst still small, ensures a wage that increases with inflation, a key demand from the UCU.
HOWEVER, NOT ALL DEMANDS HAVE BEEN MET:
This prolonged dispute aims to achieve much more than a wage that rises with inflation, and the recent settlement is far from what was trying to be achieved. For example, there has still been little to no movement on their claims to a national agreement on workloads and working hours guidance; nationally agreed measures to avoid compulsory redundancy and to address the gender pay gap; all hourly paid staff to be put on the national pay spine; and an agreement on disability leave.
We strongly believe in the wellbeing and fair treatment of our staff, and that calls for fair contracts and an end to the gender pay gap should be heard and acted upon. When you pay £9000 every year for higher education, you have a right to know that you can expect high quality teaching and contact time, and this can be achieved if these changes are made.
THE NEXT STEPS: ANTI-CASUALISATION DAY OF ACTION, 7th MAY.
‘Zero-hours’ contracts are one place where we can start. Just days ago the UCU called for a Day of Action for Anti-Casualization of working contracts in Further and Higher Education.
Prevalent in the education sector, zero-hour contracts deny academic and admin staff from full employment status and also many key employment rights. They also deny the financial security and stability that is needed to plan on a month-month basis.
Currently, according the Office for National Statistics, Britain are using 1.4million zero-hour contracts. In September, UCU released a report that showed that over half of colleges and universities used zero-hours contracts.
Join us in protesting against the over-use of casual contracts in UK FE and HE sectors on the Day of Action, Wednesday, 7th May. Keep an eye on our social media for an upcoming action that you can take part in.
If you have any further queries, please get in touch, and good luck with your exams!
Your Officer Team.