UCL Human Resources


Increase in staff pay and update on strike action

1 March 2023

A message from Donna Dalrymple, Chief People Officer.

Portico with people

Dear colleagues,  

I am writing to you to provide an update on this year’s pay award, which includes an interim payment for all staff backdated to 1 February 2023 and a 5% increase to the London Allowance. This will be paid into your next salary payment in March. 

UCEA pay uplift  

As my update of 20 February highlighted, there has been some progress in negotiations on pay and other issues. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which negotiates pay levels nationally on behalf of around 140 universities, made a final pay offer to unions of between 8% and 5% uplift to 2023/24 pay, with the uplift weighted to give those at the lower end of the pay spine a greater increase. Unfortunately, the negotiations were not able to achieve an agreement on pay, and so the national dispute is still ongoing. 

We have been informed by UCEA that we should go ahead with implementing the pay award: 2% of this pay increase (or £1,000 whichever is greater) will be implemented for UCL staff in March’s salary (so that it is received within this tax year) and will be backdated from 1 February 2023. The remaining amount will be uplifted from August 2023 onwards. This early negotiation and interim uplift (which is six months in advance of the usual pay uplift) is something we have encouraged and welcomed.  

Additional London Allowance uplift  

We have also decided to apply the full 5% increase to the London Allowance. We are conscious of the financial pressures facing our staff right now due to the cost-of-living crisis, so we will be backdating the full 5% to 1 February, rather than splitting this award between February and August. This will also be added to your March salaries.  

Following this increase and the additional increases made last year from 1 August 2022, this means that UCL’s London Allowance has increased by 21% over the last six months. This is part of our commitment over time to increase staff pay levels.  

The uplift also applies to staff who receive the London Fringe Allowance which was introduced last year to extend the London Allowance to a greater number of staff. This will increase from £2,000 to £2,100 backdated to 1 February, before being harmonised with the full London Allowance rate from 1 August 2023, as already agreed.  

Further negotiations  

UCEA and trade union colleagues have agreed to proceed to further talks on other key issues, including a joint commitment over a revised/refreshed pay spine, and a commitment to negotiations on contract types, workload and pay gaps. We will continue to keep you updated on these negotiations and you can see all the ways in which we are trying to address the issues of concern here.   

Strike action  

Planned days of industrial action have been paused for the past two weeks to create a period of calm while these negotiations to take place. As things stand, we expect strike action to resume in mid-March; UCU has now notified us that an additional day, Wednesday 15 March, will be added to the existing planned strike action days on Thursday 16 March, Friday 17 March, Monday 20 March, Tuesday 21 March and Wednesday 22 March. 

We would like to remind staff who have taken part in strike action so far to please use the online reporting system to declare each day that you took part. Departments also must keep a local record of cancelled classes in which names of teaching staff must not be recorded. They should only record teaching instances that have been impacted. This data will be used only in response to potential OIA complaints, student questions or legal claims.  

We will continue to keep you all updated with further news and to keep pushing for progress within the limits of the challenging current environment.  

Donna Dalrymple

Chief People Officer, UCL