UCL News


UCL strike action

19 May 2016

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has notified UCL that its members will be taking two days strike action on the 25 and 26 of May 2016, following its rejection of this year's national pay offer after just one meeting of this year's pay negotiations round.

Quad The employers have made a final offer of 1.1% increase in pay, with higher amounts to those on the lowest pay points. The final offer also included a commitment to undertake substantial joint work on addressing gender pay gaps as well as casual and hourly-paid working arrangements in the Higher Education Sector.

Following UCU's abandonment of the pay negotiations at a very early stage, UNISON and Unite have also rejected the final offer and will be consulting their members over the next few weeks. The offer, which rightly provides extra for the lower paid, is at the absolute limit of affordability for UCL and is around twice the current inflation rate. UCL remains perplexed by UCU's premature move to ballot before the final offer was on the table and is dismayed at its move to recommend industrial action before UCU members had even been presented with the full offer.

The overall reward and benefit package at UCL includes excellent conditions of service, pension schemes and provision for pay progression and other contribution-related pay increases. As well as the base pay uplift for all, around half of the UCL staff covered by these negotiations will be eligible for automatic pay progression increases averaging an additional 3%. Indeed the final offer on base pay increases - which takes the total average sector pay increase to 2.7% - is just one element in the total pay, reward and recognition invested in staff.

With only 23% of UCU members voting for strike action - representing just 7.3% of all staff covered by UCU across the sector - it is clear that the overwhelming majority have no wish for involvement in this action or a desire to damage outcomes for students. Students will naturally be very worried by the threat to disrupt teaching, learning, personal study in libraries and possibly even examinations and we will do our very best to protect students from the impact of any UCU action. The student experience remains our primary concern.

Any industrial action is a breach of contract for which UCL is entitled to withhold 100% of pay for each day on which staff are unwilling to perform their full contractual duties. Staff intending to take industrial action on 25 or 26 May, are reminded that they must use the online reporting system (staff portal) entering the date/s on which they plan to take action. Staff are required to provide accurate information for the period that they are taking strike action and they must ensure that their Head of Department or Division is made aware of any strike action they take.

If you plan to strike and are a member of a pension scheme, UCU should advise you on the implications for your pension cover. Further advice and guidance can be provided by your HR Business Partner whose details can be found here.

Nigel Waugh, Executive Director of UCL Human Resources