Financial Savings Measures Update

Financial Savings Measures Update

An update on the recent consultation process on the proposed financial savings measures regarding staff pay.

Dear colleagues,

This update concerns the recent consultation process on the proposed financial savings measures regarding staff pay. Thank you to everyone who provided individual feedback on the proposals as well as making other suggestions. Thank you also to the local and regional representatives of the campus trade unions (UCU, Unite the Union and Unison) who have engaged in positive and constructive discussions and negotiations during this period.   

This update details progress and decisions that have been made, including a collective agreement reached in principle with the trade unions regarding incremental progression.  Unite the Union and UNISON are supportive of this agreement and Aberdeen UCU will be consulting their membership over the next week with a recommendation to support the proposal.

Responses to the key areas of feedback and suggestions received during the consultation period are also provided.  Staff who submitted feedback and suggestions will also receive an individual written response from Human Resources (HR) on behalf of the Senior Management Team (SMT) over the coming days. 

Reminder of the need for savings and the steps already taken

The session delivered by George Boyne, Principal and David Beattie, Finance Director detailed the projected impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the University’s financial sustainability.  To contribute to savings required the SMT have already taken the following decisions:

  •  A pause on all promotions, re-gradings and contributions (estimated savings £0.5m);
  • No Senior Pay Policy increases during 2020/2021 (estimated saving £100k);
  • SMT pay cuts for the 2020/21 academic year - Principal 20% and other members of  SMT 10%;
  • Delayed implementation of any national pay award negotiated for 2020/21. However, the University will ensure any uplift associated with the Accredited Living Wage (normally announced in November) is implemented.

Consultation period May – June 2020 and Collective Agreement on incremental progression

The consultation period was launched in May and outlined a key proposal - a freeze on incremental progression between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021. 

This proposal, along with the steps outlined above, were considered by the University to be proportionate, bearing in mind the severe projected financial impact of Covid-19. 

Throughout the consultation period there have been regular discussions between University management and the trade unions in meetings of the Partnership Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PNCC). 

Outcome of Consultation period

Incremental pay increases

Negotiations on incremental progression included submission of an alternative proposal from the trade unions which sought to mitigate the effects of the proposed salary freeze on staff. The University has welcomed and accepted this alternative proposal and a collective agreement has now been reached in principle. You can view the detail of the collective agreement as well as FAQ about this.

Essentially, the agreement means that pay for our lower paid staff members is protected and, otherwise, staff due to receive incremental progression between  August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021 will receive a proportion of the amount due, determined by grade. Thereafter, between August 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022, staff will receive any remaining amount due from their 2020/2021 increment.  Reaching this agreement achieves estimated savings of £1.4 Million.

As part of the agreement SMT has also given commitment to ongoing and regular dialogue with the trade unions to review these arrangements as the position of University finances becomes clearer.

Suspension of promotions and re-grading

A key area of feedback from staff and the trade unions related to the suspension of promotions and re-gradings.  The University is reviewing this decision in consultation with the trade unions and a further update will be provided as soon as possible.

During the course of the consultation further feedback was received on a number of other potential options to support cost savings.  Information on the key topics of feedback/suggestions as well as SMT responses are available here

It is with regret that that it is necessary to take the measures outlined.  However these measures are essential to protect jobs, secure the future of our University, and ensure our capacity to recover. We will continue to review the University’s financial position and the next key decision-making point will be in October when our student numbers will be known and the financial position will be clearer. 

Thank you again to staff and the trade unions for engaging in this process and for your support to the University.

With best wishes


Debbie Dyker
Acting Director of Operations