Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Uplift of annual leave for grades 1-6

Following the conclusion of negotiations in June 2016, the University has announced an uplift of 2 days for grades 1-6s’ annual leave allowance. This falls short of our original demand for 30 days parity across all grades. Nonetheless, the offer was the best that could be achieved by negotiation, and was supported by members in our consultative ballot.

We reserve our right to revisit the issue in the future, and have not abandoned our longer term goal of parity between the grades.

UNISON’s Higher Education Pay

UNISON’s HE pay ballot closed on 19 September and UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) met on 20 September to consider the outcome. The ballot result was: 

3,381 (54.9%) voted in favour of industrial action 
2,782 (45.1%) voted against industrial action

After the meeting it issued the following statement:
“The HESGE took into account the close vote in the ballot, a disappointing turnout and the knowledge that it was likely that if UNISON did take strike action it would not be with all other unions (due to notable differences in positions and timetables). Joint union action has been key to previous successful action.

Taking this into account it was reluctantly agreed that UNISON would not take industrial action on this occasion. The HESGE felt that the ballot results and views from regions meant that the union could not deliver a sufficiently strong strike to force the employers to improve their derisory pay offer. 

UNISON is committed to national pay bargaining and will continue to campaign to improve members pay, terms and conditions in higher education.   Further discussions will take place at UNISON’s forthcoming HE branch seminar, which will also focus on the need to build membership and engage members in future industrial action ballots.”

We recognise that many members will be disappointed by this outcome given that the Branch voted by a clear majority in a consultative ballot to support industrial action. However, given the direction issued by the HESGE, we regret to say that we are not able to proceed to industrial action. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

PGMDE Consultation - UNISON's Second Response

Consultation on the proposed cuts and restructure within the Healthcare Education Team for the London & South East Local Education and Training Board of Health Education England (HEE) closed on 7 September 2016.

Prior to this, UNISON Senate House Branch submitted a second response to the consultation which you can read here.

The branch is now entering a process of negotiations with senior management in which we will be seeking the best possible deal for our members and will be seeking to avoid the need to make staff compulsorily redundant. We will also be discussing the timeline for the proposed changes and will be seeking to extend this for the reasons outlined in our responses.

If members have any queries then please contact the branch via

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

UNISON statement on the proposed 1.1% pay offer

UNISON members will be receiving their ballot paper to vote on whether to take industrial action on the current pay offer over the next few days. The ballot period runs from 30 August to 19 September 2016. The ballot helpline opens 5 September 2016 and the number is 0800 0857 857.

The higher education service group executive is recommending members vote ‘YES’ for strike action in response to the employer’s miserly 1.1% pay offer for the majority of staff.

You may be aware that last week the employers' produced an expanded 'draft offer' ahead of UNISON’s industrial action ballot. This was published via the employer’s website following a UCEA Board meeting. No discussion took place with any of the trade unions ahead of the announcement.

However, despite the sector facing the potential for escalating strike action in the autumn the revised draft had very little change in the detail, and no movement on the main sticking point: the 1.1% pay offer. It also appears that the national employers ‎negotiating body (UCEA) has recommended to Universities that they should implement the draft offer to staff, in effect imposing the current offer, even before the outcome of industrial action ballots are known.

UNISON sees this move as provocative and unnecessary given the employers stated commitment to keep channels open for dialogue. As yet the employers  have made no attempt to approach the unions in dispute for further talks.

UNISON members  who will receive ballot papers in the coming days will see through this attempt to influence the vote for in the industrial action on this miserly offer. In fact, by imposing this offer it  once more highlights just how little the offer is worth for the majority of staff.
UNISON has outlined the growing pay inequality in higher education and has produced  a salary calculator that clearly shows how far behind wages have fallen behind the cost of living. Full details can be found here:

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

PGMDE Consultation - UNISON's First Response

The branch has submitted its first response in relation to the integration of postgraduate medical and dental education support function across London and the South East (LaSE).

Please find a copy of the response available to review here.

In summary, the branch was profoundly disappointed by the lack of detail surrounding the proposal which was provided as part of the consultation paperwork. The branch has specifically highlighted the lack of detail around proposed technological introduction as a means of labour-saving in addition to concerns around matrix working. A number of other concerns were also raised, in addition to a proposed alternative timetable.

We will be responding to additional aspects of the proposals in due course.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

PGMDE Integration – Consultation on proposed structure

Members working for Health Education England (HEE) on University of London contracts will be aware that staff working in the PGMDE function (commonly referred to as ‘Operations’) are being consulted on proposals that, if introduced, would lead to a 41% reduction in the number of posts. The branch is incredibly disappointed that the proposal is very much a worst-case scenario in terms of proposed reductions

Clearly this is having a devastating effect on members employed in this department and we want to encourage staff to contact us with any comments they have on the consultation documentation ( We will also be available to support members for any individual concerns or needs that they might have, including representation for individual consultation meetings.

The branch is actively organising around a robust response to these measures and will be regularly updating affected members. We remain resolutely opposed to compulsory redundancies.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Annual Leave Claim – Member consultation on employers offer

Members are now being sent invitations to respond to the consultation online. The consultation will run for one week until 28 June 2016.

The branch has now concluded negotiations with the University in relation to our claim, which was for an uplift in annual leave for staff on CTS terms (grades 1 – 6) in order to bring this in line with the allowance afforded to staff on AMP terms (grades 7+).

The University’s initial offer was to increase annual leave by two days, subject to service. The branch rejected this offer on the grounds of equality. Higher grades do not have to have earn additional leave based on service, therefore neither should 1-6s.

Following further negotiations, the University conceded an immediate uplift (subject to agreement being reached prior to the end of July) from 25 days to 27 days for staff employed on grades 1-6 irrespective of service length.

Included in this agreement is a clause accommodating a change in the way that annual leave is calculated. Should members agree to this offer, leave will be calculated on pro-rated basis according to each day worked (with leave allowances being rounded up to the nearest half-day). Full details of the offer can be found here.

The University have informed us that they are not willing to offer the full uplift to 30 days due to financial considerations.

We are disappointed that the University has not been able to meet our claim in full but the Branch remains committed to the longer-term goal of equality in annual leave provision across all grades. We wil revisit this matter with the University in the future.

At this present time, we  believe that this offer is the best that can be secured by negotiation. We believe that only a period of sustained industrial action would potentially lead to an improvement in the offer.

Given the above, the branch is not making a recommendation to either accept or reject the offer. We ask all members to respond to the consultation.

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