UCL News


Pay breakthrough

19 November 2003

A new pay framework has been announced for higher education.

Following two years of negotiation between the Universities & Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA) and the higher education trade unions, it offers the basis for tackling long-standing pay problems.

The framework will modernise pay in universities to improve the recruitment and retention of staff, ensure equal pay for work of equal value and reward the contribution that individuals make to their institution. The new framework has been welcomed by universities across the sector and the higher education trade unions are currently consulting their members on the agreement.

If agreed, the new framework will be a national agreement within which UCL will be able to develop a new pay and grading structure that meets its needs. The detail of UCL's grading and pay structures will be the subject of negotiation with campus trade unions.

The agreement includes a provisional two-year pay deal covering the period August 2003 to July 2005 which includes:

  • pay increases totalling at least 6.5% by August 2004, with an average of a further 1.2% when UCL is in a position to implement its new pay structures based on the new pay spine
  • higher increases for lower paid staff, with up to 12.7% extra for the lowest paid, by August 2004
  • additional pay increases for some staff based on the outcome of job evaluation and consequent re-grading - UCL has estimated that this will cost of the order of 3% of the total pay bill
  • a guarantee of equal pay for work of equal value following the introduction of job evaluation, application of common principles to the grading of all jobs and the completion of an equal pay audit to ensure equal pay within grades (the latter is estimated to cost 1% of the total pay bill)
  • new pay progression opportunities for some staff such as manual workers and College Teachers
  • harmonisation of a standard working week by no later than August 2005 and review of other terms and conditions.

Professor Malcolm Grant, President & Provost of UCL, said: "This agreement gives us the tools to address pay inequality within higher education and to improve pay levels generally. It will also give UCL the scope to tailor grading and pay structures to reflect the markets within which we operate. The detail will be negotiated with our trade unions locally and although this will be a lot of work for all concerned, I am convinced that it will be worth the investment. Higher education must bring its pay and reward arrangements into the 21st century and show the funding agency and the government that it is able to replace the outdated and potentially inequitable arrangements currently in use. This agreement has been a long time in development and if agreement cannot be reached, the future of national bargaining arrangements would seem to be in question."

UCL's Senior Management Team has considered the amount of money that UCL would need to fund the pay framework and to address the issue of London Weighting, which will also be reviewed locally as part of its implementation. Marilyn Gallyer, Vice-Provost (Administration), said: ''We estimate that, on top of the 2003 element of the pay award, the proposed pay framework would cost approximately 8% of the pay bill in 2004/2005 if UCL was in a position to implement from August next year. While the proposed framework agreement includes important improvements to pay and will assist UCL to continue to attract the best staff, this is a significant cost to UCL, and we are urgently addressing the funding implications. Nationally approaches are to be made to Government for financial support in the next Spending Review (from 2005/2006) and we will be looking to the external funding bodies to meet the cost of increases in salaries for staff supported by external funding. But in the short term there are significant cost consequences for UCL which will need to be addressed."

Consultation with the trade unions nationally is ongoing and the outcome should be known in November 2003. Staff will be kept informed of developments.