University will implement disputed pay increase

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Photo: Ellen Shaw

The University of St Andrews will implement a one per cent pay increase for staff despite an ongoing dispute over pay with the three main higher education unions.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has offered a pay increase of one per cent for staff in higher education in the coming year. This is the fourth year of below-inflation pay increases for university staff, which equates to a 13 per cent pay cut of the period in real terms. The three higher education trade unions, Unison, Unite and the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), have argued that this is “unfair” as there has been a lack of negotiation with the employers and they have no choice but to take industrial action.

Following a national ballot, members of the unions voted to hit the picket lines on October 31. Since then, staff have been working to contract and last week the unions held a second joint strike. Despite this there has been limited movement by UCEA, which has said that the pay increase on offer is “sustainable, fair and final”.

In an email to all staff on Tuesday, University quaestor Derek Watson said that St Andrews will be implementing this one per cent increase: “As you may be aware there has been no resolution yet to national pay negotiations for 2013. In these circumstances, the University has been advised by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association to implement the employers’ final offer of a one per cent increase. In line with other universities, St Andrews will implement this increase in the December payroll, backdated to 1 August 2013.

“We regret that the pay dispute remains unresolved, but have taken the decision to implement the pay increase in the interests of the overwhelming majority of staff who are playing no part in this dispute. Neither is it our intention to be provocative to our staff who are Trade Union members. This decision is also in line with the request for confirmation from Union representatives at the most recent Trades Union [sic] meeting.”

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