This is a further update on the 2023-2024 pay negotiations, following the last of three national negotiation meetings of the JNC for Higher Education Staff which took place on 25 January. You can view the previous communication issued on 17 January for further background.
This final national negotiation meeting took place more than three months in advance of the usual pay negotiations timetable, recognising the urgent inflationary pressures currently facing staff.
At the meeting an improved, final, pay offer was made of between 8% and 5%, as detailed below, including the intention to make a percentage of the uplift earlier than normal (from February 2023, rather than August 2023). This offer represents the highest % uplift in almost 20 years of the JNC for Higher Education Staff pay negotiations, recognising cost pressures that are facing both staff and employers in the current testing times.
Spinal Column Points
Uplift - total
Uplift - paid from Feb 2023
Remainder of uplift - paid from Aug 2023
3 to 5
6 to 14
15 to 25
26 to 51
The offer continues to prioritise the disproportionate effect of high inflation falling on the lower paid but still with a minimum of 5% for all other members of staff. The University supports the targeting of higher increases for our colleagues on lower pay, in addition to our commitment to the Accredited Living Wage and the previous step that we took in paying a one-off exceptional payment of £750 to staff on Grades 1-6 made in summer 2022.
The offer is also in addition to any incremental progression due to individual members of staff, typically worth 3% in addition to the base pay uplift.
Along with other universities covered by the national pay negotiations, the University is supportive of the improved pay offer. It is, however, financially challenging and is at the limit of affordability for the University and the sector overall, recognising that, specifically for universities in Scotland, funding provided by the Scottish Funding Council has fallen year on year in real terms and is expected to continue to do so. However, given the current challenging circumstances, in line with other universities we consider pushing the offer to the limit of affordability appropriate, as well as for the interim pay uplift to reach staff as soon as possible.
We hope that the offer will be recognised by the trade unions as a genuine attempt to support staff in addressing cost-of-living pressures.
This is the final offer in this pay round. The unions have agreed to take this through their decision-making structures and, in the event that it proves necessary, a timetable has been set for dispute resolution meetings.
The negotiations on non-pay items for 2023-24, including closing gender, ethnicity, disability and intersectional pay gaps, will commence in March 2023.
A further update will be provided in due course.