Many of you will know that two of our Trades Unions, UCU and UNISON are balloting for industrial action regarding the pay negotiations this year; UNITE have decided not to ballot. We are disappointed that, during the national pay negotiations, a settlement has not been achievable and the disputes procedure exhausted. UCU wrote to the University earlier this month asking us not to implement the pay offer. We believe that it is not fair to make people wait several more months to receive the pay uplifts due to them from this August, so these were implemented last month. We continue to hope that it might be possible to achieve a settlement of the 2018-19 national negotiating round, and if this changes the offer we will implement it alongside other participating Universities.

As a University, while we are not part of the public sector, we are regularly reminded that much of our funding comes from public sources. Public sector pay rises this year average about 2% after many years of a 1% pay cap. Average annual earnings growth across the country is 2.6%. The Government’s recognised measure of price inflation, known as CPI is currently 2.7%. Across this University, the 2% national pay award, coupled with the pay progression which roughly half of our staff receive, means that the average pay increase is 3.5%. But these are just averages and everyone’s circumstances will be different. We do recognise that many people are having to make personal financial choices as the whole Higher Education sector faces significant financial challenges with rising costs and constraints on public funds.

Those of you in the USS pension scheme may also have seen that the Joint Expert Panel reported last week with some interesting ideas on how to make the benefits of the scheme more affordable. You will have received information on the current plans for USS in the ongoing consultation. As of today, those are the endorsed plans for the pensions scheme but we welcome this important piece of work and look forward to seeing how this is taken forward with the USS Trustees and The Pension Regulator.

Richard Brooks
Director of HR

Martin Williams
Director of Finance