UCL-UCU: Context and Analysis for e-survey - and our recommendation to vote ‘no’

27 March 2023

What your elected national negotiators say about employers' proposals


What your elected national negotiators say about employers' proposals
You will be aware that on Friday UCU Head Office sent out another e-survey.


This was before UCU members had had the opportunity to look at any context or analysis from those bodies and individuals in the union democratically authorised to provide appropriate information and context.

The elected national negotiators of the union (those people elected by UCU precisely to give this context) have now shared analysis of the offer on pay, pay gaps, workloads, and casualised contracts in the e-survey (the UCEA part of the offer proposed at ACAS). This is to help members properly evaluate the offer. UCU HQ have not circulated this analysis to members directly, but it is now available online.

It is on the basis of this analysis that the UCL UCU EC is recommending that our members vote ‘no’ in the e-survey.

Please note that the USS (pensions) dispute is separate and involves the other employers’ organisation, UUK. What we decide about the UCEA pay and conditions dispute, does not affect whether the USS pension proposals from the employers go ahead.

The negotiators highlight that the gains for all four elements of the Four Fights are minimal, if that. For example:

  • Pay = a 5% award in the face of the biggest pay cut in the sector, a 15% cut due to inflation
  • Equalities (pay gaps): The employers wish to discuss these later.
  • Casualisation: they agree to advise HEIs to abolish zero hours contracts, but allow them to choose to continue the practice, and anyway abolition of zero hours does not help the vast majority of our members on casualised contracts. There is no other offer on casualisation.
  • Workloads: This element is also deferred to later discussion

In exchange for this degree of non-commitment by the employers, they are demanding demanded we halt our pay dispute (the 15% real-terms pay cut issue), and take no further action before February 2024, in exchange for only continuing talks on equalities (pay gaps), casualisation, and workloads in the interim. 

Should we not just expect the employers to act in good faith? Part of the agreement to pause strike action in February was that  employers would not impose their inadequate pay settlement in that period. But UCEA went ahead and imposed that settlement regardless. We therefore cannot rely on their good faith on the other three elements of the Four Fights (the ‘Conditions’ part of the dispute), even on the meagre and vague commitments this defers to to future discussions, with no enforceable or concrete actions.

Before you respond to this latest e-survey from UCU Head Office, therefore, we strongly recommend that you read the National Negotiators document (it will only take 10 minutes), and make up your own mind. The deadline to complete the survey is Wednesday morning, and we have a general meeting before then, on Tuesday.

Please also come to our Emergency General Meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, 13.00, to discuss this further . Further details and motions for that meeting will follow shortly.

UCL UCU Executive Committee