9 November 2021

Created on: 09 Nov 2021 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2021

ULA Bulletin

The ‘Full & Final’ 2021-22 Pay Offer made by the Employers Association to the five recognised HE trade unions may be found here.

The Employers' final offer is of a differentiated increase across the pay spine, weighted towards the bottom of the spine. However, for most EIS members (academic staff) it would be 1.5%. This represents an offer that is both significantly below the claim and below inflation (RPI is currently 4.9%).

This offer follows the real terms pay cuts of a sub-inflationary award in 2019 and a pay freeze in 2020. The Employers have now imposed the 2021-22 Pay Offer (i.e. they have broken the principle of negotiating pay and simply paid it to staff), despite having ongoing disputes with 4 of the 5 HE trade unions.

The Employers have refused a TU request to convene a Scottish subcommittee of NEW JNCHES (the collective pay bargaining machinery). This means that there is no sector collective bargaining forum in Scotland – which breaches the Scottish Government’s Fair Work aims. There is no collective bargaining forum for HE at the Scottish level, only Institution level pay bargaining beyond New JNCHES.

EIS-ULA members voted to reject this offer earlier in the summer of 2021.

A further consultative ballot asking EIS-ULA members to indicate whether they would support industrial action in support of the 2021-22 Pay Dispute closed on Wednesday 3rd November. The Result is set out below:

Q1. Are you willing to take Industrial Action Short of Strike Action (ASOS) in pursuit of an improved pay offer?
Yes – 82%
No – 18%

Q2. Are you willing to take Strike Action in pursuit of an improved pay offer?
Yes – 73%
No – 27%

This consultative ballot was carried out at short notice and ran alongside SRUC strike action, and turnout was lower than 50%.

The EIS ULA Executive requested permission from the EIS Executive for a statutory ballot for industrial action in pursuit of the Pay Dispute, and on Friday 5th November that approval was given. The EIS ULA Executive believes that industrial action is the only and best route available to improve the Pay Offer; with the aims being to improve the pay uplift and to establish a Scottish Sub-Committee of New JNCHES.

Please be advised therefore that we will, shortly, be balloting EIS-ULA members for industrial action. I should add that the SRUC strike action was successful in bringing about an acceptable settlement, after four days of strike action.

The Employers are likely to need more than four days of industrial action to bring about an improved Pay Offer, but, doing nothing will lead to further real terms pay cuts.