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March 13th, 2014:

Living Wage – the University’s recent statement on SUSSED

Dear colleagues

Earlier today you may have seen a statement issued by the University regarding recent negotiations on the Living Wage at the University of Southampton.

We at UCU, UNISON and Unite wish to make clear that we in no way endorse this statement, and further, we believe that this statement thoroughly misrepresents the facts.  The issue of the Living Wage was first brought to the University’s attention at the Joint Negotiating Committee on 18 October 2013, following an initial FOI request sent by Southampton Living Wage Campaign on 13 August 2013.  A paper was presented on this issue at the JNC which was fully endorsed by all three unions.

At this initial JNC discussion the University responded that they would re-evaluate their position on the Living Wage only after the resolution of the 2013/2014 pay claim.  In the months since, all three unions have consistently and visibly campaigned on the Living Wage and fair pay for the lowest-paid University staff, and it is only after these months of campaigning that the University has put forward this Living Wage supplement.

Throughout this dispute, all three union branches at this University have continued to negotiate on local issues, and at no point have we ceased cooperation due to the current national situation.  The University, in contrast, has repeatedly refused to negotiate formally on local concerns for the duration of the dispute, and has told us that they have no plans to strive to be a true Living Wage Employer.

The current statement on SUSSED does not acknowledge the contribution of unions and their members at this University in bringing this issue to the fore, nor does it accept responsibility for the University’s own refusals to engage on this and other issues for the duration of the current pay dispute.

UCU, UNISON and Unite at the University of Southampton