Disappointing result for carers

Some of you may be aware that for the past 2 years the Disability and Carers staff network group have put in a great deal of work towards creating a policy to help support staff with caring responsibilities. The policy put forward by the network group was put together after consultation with the university Equality and Diversity department and staff in the network group on what would help them stay in work whilst also fulfilling their caring duties as well as looking at best practices from other organisations. After many conversations with HR about the policy it is with great disappointment that I have to report that the University will be publishing a policy that is very watered down compared to that proposed by the network group.

A key recommendation that was removed was giving carers an additional 5 days paid leave in order that they may carry out some of their caring responsibilities without having to take annual leave or a pay cut. Senior management said that the University is not in a position to agree anything that might cost resources despite having no evidence that this additional, optional, provision would cost any money or productivity at all.

The suggestions put forward would have been reasonable adjustments that wouldn’t have cost much, if anything, and would have made life a lot easier for some of our staff. Whilst I agree having something is better than nothing, the policy put forward by HR does very little to actually help carers any more than any other member of staff would be entitled to anyway. It is very disheartening to see senior management disregarding recommendations from their staff, although perhaps not surprising in light of the recent staff survey results.

 

Emily Brooks

Equality and Diversity co-ordinator

2018-19 Pay: National Industrial Action Ballot announced

UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive met yesterday to decide on the next steps for this year’s pay campaign. The consultative ballot of all branches returned an overwhelming vote in favour of rejecting the “final” offer of 2.0% or £450, which is consistent with the message received from our branch’s membership.

Members will receive ballot papers to their home addresses by the end of September, but we’ll provide details nearer the time.

The anti-trade union laws make it unlawful for industrial action to take place unless we manage a turnout in excess of 50%, so it is important that every member returns their vote and makes sure that other members do so as well.

Since ballots will go to home addresses, we need to make sure that our information is up to date (we don’t get any info from the University).

Members can check their data by registering and logging into MyUNISON, here.

We can let you know your membership number if you need it.

Alternatively, just contact us (email or call 2450) and I can check for you.

 

 

 

2018-19 Consultative Pay Ballot Result

The results of our ballot of Brighton branch members on whether to accept or reject the “final offer” of 2.0% or £425 is follows:

84.2% voted to REJECT the offer.

15.2% voted to ACCEPT the offer.

The turnout was 57.7%.

Thanks to everyone who voted or persuaded others to vote. This is the highest turnout we have had in a consultative ballot and sets a good foundation on which to build, if a full postal ballot takes place in the near future. (The blatantly undemocratic Trade Union Act requires a turnout of at least 50%.)

The result is a clear endorsement of the recommendation of this branch and UNISON nationally, that 2% in real terms is a pay cut and that we have to reject this offer and campaign for more.

A national meeting of the Service Group takes place tomorrow (Thursday 2nd August), where reps will consider the national situation. As a democratic union, we will take into account the feelings of all members in all branches, but on the back of this result, we will be making a case for a full national ballot to be run alongside UCU and other unions, which will potentially allow us to threaten action if the employers don’t offer a more reasonable settlement.

Once again, thanks for playing your part in that process.

We’ll bring you further news when we have it.

 

 

 

Vote YES TO REJECT – Consultative Pay Ballot 9th – 26th July

As promised, we’re balloting all our members on the employers’ final offer of 2% or £425.

We think this is a below-inflation, real terms pay cut, and so we’re recommending that members vote to REJECT it.

There’s further information in the July newsletter (out soon) and on UNISON’s national website.

Vote ‘Yes to Reject’ the HE pay offer

Ballot forms will go out from next week and members can also vote electronically.

We’ll be holding site meetings to discuss the issue and ask members to make sure that we all vote in this important consultation.

More to follow….

UNISON to recommend that members reject 2.0% for 2018-19

UNISON’s national Service Group Executive met last week to discuss the employer’s final offer of 2.0% or £425 (whichever is greater) from August 2018.

The group noted that the offer still represents a real-terms pay cut and does not come close to the pay claim of 7.5% (or £1,500 and £10/hour minimum wage).

Given that a motion passed at the January 2018 conference committed the Service Group to reject and ballot over any offer which falls short of the claim, UNISON will now conduct a national consultative ballot for all members falling under the national UCEA agreement. The recommendation will be that members reject the offer and threaten industrial action.

At Brighton, we have been clear that a pay offer which comes in at less than inflation is a pay cut, and that higher education workers have to be organised enough to campaign for more. As soon as the timescale for the ballot is announced, we will do everything we can to make sure that all our members vote and that we can collectively campaign for a pay rise worthy of our hard work.

Image result for unison pay up

2018-19 Pay: Final offer of 2.0% or £425

UNISON negotiators met the employers’ organisation (UCEA), alongside sister trade unions yesterday (10th May) to hold the final of three scheduled meetings to discuss the pay increase for all University employed staff due on 1st August 2018.

UCEA made a final offer of 2.0% or £425, whichever is greater. (At Brighton, this would mean a range of increases between 2.0% and 2.6% for grades 1, 2 and 3.)

This is an increase from the earlier 1.7% offer, but hardly a substantial one. When you consider that the pay claim made by unions was designed to make up for years of sub-standard pay increases, to offer at least a full percentage point below the current level of inflation, when all predictions expect inflation to remain above 3.0%, this is a real terms pay cut and one that this branch thinks our members should reject.

The next step is for the Service Group Executive to meet on 23rd May, and a consultation of branches and members will inevitably follow.

Montage of faces and pay up now logo

University of Bath agrees to reinstate living wage – we want this at Brighton!

woman holding living wage sign

UNISON has welcomed a commitment by the University of Bath to reinstate the living wage – currently £8.75 an hour – from next week, and seek accreditation as a living wage employer with the Living Wage Foundation.

But the union, which represents some 300 staff at the university, warned that while this is an urgently needed first step towards addressing low pay, more must be done to tackle the well publicised inequality at the university.

Commenting on the move, UNISON head of higher education Donna Rowe-Merriman said: “The scandal of low pay in the sector is something that vice chancellors across the UK can rectify by becoming living wage accredited employers. That alone will provide a pay rise for more than 10,000 people employed at UK universities.”

The University of Bath began paying the living wage in 2015, but stopped when the rate was increased to £8.45 an hour in November 2016.

The rate is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation every year, reflecting the cost of living.

The university will now start paying the 2017/18 rate of £8.75 an hour from 1 May, in a boost for the lowest paid staff in accommodation, hospitality and estates.

But negotiation and consultation is still going on over enhanced rates for weekend working – so staff who work weekends will not necessarily see their pay increase.

The three unions at Bath – UNISON, Unite and UCU – have all been campaigning for the living wage to be reinstated. In November last year, UNISON used local pay negotiations to ask the university to seek accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation.

The University Court voted overwhelmingly in support of the living wage in January this year, but the senior managers in the vice chancellor’s group refused to increase pay unless the lowest paid staff agreed to sacrifice their weekend working supplement.

University bosses scrapped this condition after UNISON moved to ballot affected members.

“We are pleased that university senior management has agreed to reinstate a living wage,” said branch secretary Christopher Roche this week.

“Staff and students were appalled when university bosses sought to force low paid staff to choose between their weekend protections and receiving a living wage.

“The prospect of a consultative ballot for industrial action seems to have persuaded university management to reconsider and agree to pay a living wage unconditionally.”

He added that the wage “is the absolute minimum any worker should expect, particularly in an organisation that chooses to pay its senior managers as much as those at the University of Bath.

“UNISON members stood their ground to demand a living wage and I hope they serve as an inspiration for other workers in the area.

“We look forward to collectively addressing the remaining problems at the university, including maintaining appropriate enhancements for staff required to work weekends, the lack of pay progression for staff on lower grades, their under representation in university governance and the widespread use of zero hours contracts.

“After a torrid 18 months of bad publicity, I hope the reinstatement of the living wage marks a turning point in the way our university is run.”

 

At Brighton, we have never managed to get the University to agree to become a Living Wage Employer. Some of our lowest paid members have now fallen behind the £8.75/hour threshold, in part, due to the 37 hour week here, which is higher than many universities. We’ll keep campaigning against low pay and long hours in one of the most expensive regions of the country.