Update on 2023-2024 pay negotiations

Update on 2023-2024 pay negotiations

Update on pay talks between UCEA and the trade unions.

This is an update on the 2023-2024 pay negotiations, being taken forward nationally by UCEA and the trade unions through the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for Higher Education Staff.

In early December 2022, UCEA and the trade unions agreed a process to commence the pay negotiations earlier than normal. This is unprecedented and recognises the sector-wide cost-of-living concerns. It is also a positive step in the context of ongoing disputes and industrial action over pay and the USS pension scheme.

It is recognised that this pay round comes at a time when staff continue to face significant cost-of-living pressure and the University, as well as the sector generally, continues to battle unprecedented financial challenges. In this context, the University is supportive of meaningful, sustainable and affordable pay uplifts.

Earlier this month, UCEA wrote to the trade unions on behalf of all employers setting out a pay offer, recognising that the cost-of-living pressures fall disproportionately on staff on lower pay. The offer also includes the intention to make a percentage of the uplift earlier than normal, from February 2023 rather than August 2023, with the remainder of the uplift being awarded in August 2023. Detail of the pay offer is outlined below.

Spinal Column Points
Grade structure
Uplift -
Uplift -
paid from Feb 2023
Remainder of uplift -
paid from Aug 2023
3 to 147%2.8%4.2%
15 to 256%2.4%3.6%
26 to 425%2%3%
43 to 514%1.6%2.4%


The offer means that all staff earning £50,000 per annum or below will receive a minimum uplift of 5%. The lowest paid staff will receive up to 7%. This would be in addition to any incremental progression due to individual members of staff, typically worth 3% in addition to the base pay uplift.

The University fully supports the targeting of higher increases to our colleagues on lower pay included in the offer, in addition to our commitment to the Accredited Living Wage and steps such as the one-off exceptional payment of £750 to staff on Grades 1-6 made in Summer 2022.

We have a great deal of sympathy with staff coping with cost-of-living pressures, but unfortunately no university could offer a pay award based on current levels of inflation. It is recognised that the level of affordability for the University and others across the sector, reflected in the pay offer, is modest in comparison to the unions’ request for a pay uplift in excess of the level of inflation.

However, we hope that the offer will be recognised as a genuine attempt to support staff in addressing cost-of-living pressures.

Next steps

The last of three national negotiation meetings of the JNC for Higher Education Staff is due to take place on Wednesday 25 January 2023. A further update will be provided following that meeting.

Best wishes


Karl Leydecker
Senior Vice-Principal

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