Higher Education ballots – Four Fights – staff deserve a pay RISE not another pay CUT

Last year our employers used the opportunity of the pandemic to impose a 0% pay award, despite a 4% increase in student numbers. This year, the final offer made is for a 1.5% pay increase. A 1.5% pay increase over two years is a steep real term pay cut.  

This year, we know that inflation has been rising rapidly. The Office for National Statistics reported CPIH in June at 2.4%, CPI at 2.5% and RPI at 3.9%.  Whatever tool is used, this year’s offer is in real terms a pay cut. New members starting careers in 2021 will earn around 20% less than they would have done if our pay had been maintained in line with inflation over the last decade.  

Not only will take-home pay be spread much thinner, but it will be minimally increased when considering the increase of National Insurance next year by 1.25 percentage points (to 12% of pay).  

As a sector, HE total income has risen by 15% over the last years after adjusting for inflation. At our university, tuition fee income from international students has increased by 36.6% over the last five years. Last year the University of Southampton had a surplus of 6.6% of income.  

Over the same period, staff salaries have fallen in real terms. In 2018/19, the University of Southampton even “outperformed” its target of capping staff costs. 

In spite of the impression given by our employer, who has been preaching austerity for several years while recruiting more senior managers on high salaries, the money is there to award a real term pay increase.   

What we are fighting for on pay:  

  • A pay uplift of £2,500 on all pay points 
  • A minimum of £10 per hour wage for all contract types 
  • For all universities to become Living Wage Foundation accredited employers, ensuring outsourced workers receive, at least, the live wage foundation rate of pay.  
  • A maximum sector wide pay ratio of 10:1 
  • Additional uplift at the lower end of the pay spine to address pay compression. 

Look out for your ballot papers, vote early and vote YES on the Four Fights! 


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