Dear Member,

It is likely you will have received, as part of a recent ‘All Staff’ email, notification of the University’s intention to pay its staff the un-agreed pay rise. As you know, this is currently the subject of national ballots on whether the membership of all affected unions (except GMB) wish to accept or reject the offer made by the employers (UCEA) and therefore also subject to the possibility of industrial action. There is no imperative for the University to take this action.

UCEA contacted all Universities involved on 9 August, advising them that this action was open to them. This was an advisory note. UCEA’s intention is clearly to try and derail momentum that may be building towards industrial action among union membership. It is being dressed up as an unwillingness on our employer’s behalf to delay any uplifts to staff payments. This concern for our financial (and general) wellbeing would be more believable if it weren’t coming from a body that is trying to pretend that the ninth successive year of sub-inflation pay rises was somehow acceptable or adequate.

This University then persists in telling its staff that the majority of them (53%) will not benefit from the increments (increments that are in no way a part of this pay negotiation) and that we should be grateful for this. Does anyone else remember Jim Bowen’s ‘Bullseye’ inviting you to “look at what you could have won”? 5% would be lovely, across the board, as a start…

So that we are clear, two of the three campus unions received roughly 30 minutes notice of this email going out and were not shown the wording. It seems to this union that the University is paying lip-service to ideas of working in partnership while all the time moving away from meaningful and mutually beneficial conversations and negotiations.

At the bottom of their notice to staff was a chart showing the affect that this latest pay rise would have on pay scales. We think it would be more helpful for staff to see what their pay would have been, if it had (only) kept pace with inflation since 2009. See below:

Spine point Pay from Aug 2018 Pay in line with inflation
3 16146 17955
10 18688 21103
15 21414 24221
20 24771 28060
25 28142 31966

So, dear underpaid member, when the official ballot papers come to your home address, this branch urges you to remember the last nine years, during which our wallets have grown thinner while Universities across the country have built multi-million pound edifices to ‘the market’ and vote to Reject the offer and be prepared to take industrial action.

Yours in solidarity,

The Branch Committee

UNISON University of Leeds branch.