Workplace Report November 2019

Bargaining news

Birmingham University support staff win improved offer

UNISON members at Birmingham University have voted to accept an improved offer, concluding their dispute over the 2018-19 pay rise and other related conditions and equality matters. 

News of the settlement emerged just as UCU members began their eight-day strike (see story this page) and followed six days of strike action.

Earlier, the university’s governing council said its 2018 pay deal for support staff had matched the national settlement (an imposed 2% increase underpinned by a minimum £425). But its new offer, to end the local dispute, equated to 4.85% for cleaning and catering staff, who will now get a minimum of £9.44 an hour (worth an extra £817 a year). Staff on higher bands (including security guards, administrators, supervisors and library assistants) get rises of between 4.73% and 3%. 

Jon Richards, UNISON head of education, said the award should send a “powerful message” to the University and Colleges Employers Association to make a decent pay offer to staff across the country. 

The Birmingham UNISON branch called on the university to address a number of issues in follow-up negotiations -the lower percentage rise for higher bands, the lack of a firm commitment to Living Wage accreditation, and moving outsourced staff at the university subsidiary Edgbaston Park Hotel in-house on to the same pay and terms and conditions as everyone else.