Insecure contracts and institutional attitudes

UCU are publishing two new reports to support their efforts to get the employers to engage with them on precarious contracts. Both of these reports aim to use the available data to show the extent of the use of insecure and precarious contracts in further and higher education. They also provide a ranking of colleges and universities according to their use of insecure and precarious contracts.

You can access the Higher Education Report here.


The following was sent to all members today by Branch President Geoff Wall and Vice President Joanna de Groot.  Please comment or email, in the first instance, with your views or queries.

UCU University of York            2016 PAY CAMPAIGN             Briefing Number 1

As a UCU member in higher education you will have received a message from our General Secretary urging you to participate in the industrial ballot being launched as part of our pay campaign.

Use your vote

Voting papers and information are going out now and the ballot runs until 4 May. Your branch executive is certain that it is VITAL that we all vote in this ballot, to make it clear that pay is an important issue for us, and that we therefore expect our employers to negotiate with us seriously.

It’s important because

Since last autumn members and branches have been saying that they want the union to make progress on pay and to make our bargaining process work better for us. They are clear that they are fed up with falling pay values, with the gender pay gap and the inequitable treatment of staff on insecure contracts, and with the way that our employers drag out the negotiating process

This year at an early date we put in a clear well-justified claim (check it on the UCU website) in order to get an early constructive response from our employers, and to move the bargaining process along.

What has actually happened ?

With a £1.85 billion surplus in the system, our employers nonetheless told the union negotiators that there is insufficient money to make a decent pay offer and have offered us a 1% pay increase.

When is a pay rise not a pay rise? 

When the pay rise offered is so low that it does not even keep up with the increased cost of living.

Consider these facts …

that in 2014-15 the average pay increase for Vice Chancellors was 3%. We were pleased to learn that our own VC did even better than this –  he got 4%.  It is also good to know that the number of York colleagues being paid over £100,000 has nearly doubled over the last few years.

So some are doing very well

This shows that there IS money available to reward staff –  but that our employers have chosen to pamper a fortunate minority, at the expense of the rest of us, whose pay has fallen in value by 14% since 2009.

Declaring a Formal Dispute

This is why our pay negotiators advise us that the most useful response to the employers’ insulting offer of 1% is to declare a formal dispute, and to seek confirmation from members, through the ballot which we are now running, that they meant what they said when they said – in earlier consultations – that we are determined to achieve a decent pay increase this year.

Support the Negotiations

When the negotiators next meet the employers (28 April) we want the employers to be fully aware that the negotiators are speaking for members who will not stand back from a reasonable claim which deserves a decent response.

4% for the VC and 1% for the rest of us?  There must be some mistake!

                                     VOTE YES IN THE BALLOT

All change in Mathematics

The branch would like to give a great big thank you to Prof Bernard Kay, who has now retired from the University, for his sterling work over many years as a UCU departmental rep.  We hope he enjoys a long and happy retirement.  Thank you, Bernard, from all of us here at the branch.

We would also like to welcome the new rep, Jason Levesley, to the fray.  Thank you for taking over from Bernard, we really need our departmental reps.  Here’s a photo of Jason in case you need to track him down ….