Created on: 29 Sep 2022 | Last modified: 16 Feb 2023
EIS-ULA has been in dispute since June 2022 over a failure to agree a cost of living pay rise.
In March 2018, the EIS-ULA lodged a joint pay claim for 2022/23 with the other four trade unions who participate in the New JNCHES pay negotiations. The claim included 2 main elements: a pay uplift of RPI+2%; a request to activate the Scottish Subcommittee of New JNCHES.
You can find the full pay claim here.
In May 2022, the Employers issued what was described as a full and final offer, with a headline pay uplift of 3% for academic staff. EIS-ULA rejected this offer and lodged a dispute at New JNCHES over a failure to agree. The reasons given for the rejection of the offer were:
the 3% offered to academic staff is significantly below the Joint Trade Union Pay Claim and the Retail Price Index (RPI);
UCEA’s further refusal to facilitate a Scottish Subcommittee of New JNCHES – despite it being a part of the New JNCHES Agreement that underpins the national bargaining arrangements.
Despite further representations made during the dispute resolution process, there has been no movement from UCEA in terms of increasing the pay offer. No regard has been taken of the fact that the value of members' pay has declined and has continued to fall in recent years or that this offer would mean it continues to do so amidst a cost of living crisis.
The only avenue left open to us in seeking to secure an improved offer is to ballot members for strike action.
The 3% pay uplift offered for 2022-23 will lead to another successive real terms cut in pay for HE staff and a total real terms decline in pay amounts of over 30% since 2009/10.
These figures are in stark contrast to what is happening with senior staff pay. University pay is becoming more polarised with ordinary academic staff being asked to bear the brunt of real terms pay cuts whilst senior staff enjoy real terms pay increases.
Despite all of this, UCEA has refused to increase the pay offer for our members.
As of September, RPI is sitting at 12.3% with a further sharp increase predicted throughout 2022-23
We attended two dispute meetings under the New JNCHES dispute procedure and along with the other trade unions involved (UCU, Unite and Unison), sought to engage UCEA in meaningful negotiations. Despite these attempts, no resolution was achieved.
UCEA has refused to increase the pay offer for our members and has stuck to their ‘final offer’ for lecturing staff, ultimately issuing advice to HEIs to impose the offer. This advice is in stark contrast to any commitment to collective bargaining, is not conducive to the maintenance of good working relations and reflects a unilateral change to members’ terms and conditions of employment.
All of the Universities in Scotland which indicated that they were willing to participate in the 2022/23 New JNCHES pay round and at which the EIS-ULA has members will be balloted for industrial action. The following Universities will be balloted:
Edinburgh Napier University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow School of Art
Queen Margaret University
Robert Gordon University
University of Aberdeen
University of Dundee
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
University of the West of Scotland
The Open University
Yes, if members vote in favour of strike action and we meet the thresholds imposed by the Trade Union Act (i.e. 50% of eligible members use their vote) then we will proceed to strike action. The first day of strike action would be around November 2022 and action would escalate over the academic year as required and as is outlined in your ballot paper. At this stage we cannot say how many days will be needed, but the stronger the strike, the greater the likelihood that it will be resolved quickly.
The EIS does not pay strike pay to members in a national industrial action. Members engaged in strike action who have suffered hardship as a result of being disproportionally affected by the strike programme may apply to a hardship fund for financial support.
We would urge you to participate in collective, national industrial action – as decided by a statutory ballot of the membership. Strike breakers weaken trade unions by undermining collective action decided by a democratic process. Under UK law, no trade union may discipline members for strikebreaking or crossing its own picket line.
The EIS-ULA believes that lecturers deserve a fair cost of living pay rise to allow your pay to keep pace with inflation, especially now amidst a cost-of-living crisis! You are now doing more work for less pay. It’s time to put a stop to years of real terms pay cuts and take action!
The employers have already imposed their final offer. This is in stark contrast to any real commitment to collective bargaining. A successful resolution to this strike will ensure that we achieve an improved, consolidated pay offer. The more effective the strike action, the more quickly the dispute will be resolved in the interests of EIS members and our students.
No, the EIS is only required to give the number of members per workplace in the dispute.
Your branch should be organising picket lines at the entrances for each campus, and reps will have rotas for picket line duty. We would encourage all members to take part in the picket line, even if you’re not able to do a full two hour stint.
Above all, we would ask that you do not undertake any work on a strike day. This means not attending work or taking classes, but also covers answering emails, marking, working from home etc.
The stronger the action the shorter the strike will be. The number of strike days that will be initially called has not been decided yet, but industrial action will escalate as outlined in the ballot paper, until a resolution is reached. Your support for the strike strengthens our hand in negotiations!
Members in affected institutions should have received a ballot paper by post. If you have misplaced, lost or not received your ballot please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get a new one out to you as soon as possible
You can find more information on the dispute here.