14 June 2023

Created on: 14 Jun 2023

Dear Member

Our consultative ballot on the 2023-24 pay offer for university staff is open and we would like you to vote.

Times are tough for all workers, but for academic staff, they’re much tougher than they should be.

Since 2009, your pay has lost a third of it’s value, thanks to University employers offering year after year of sub-inflationary pay awards.

This is what the difference looks like before and after the pandemic (please see graph below) if you sit on point 44 of the New JNCHES pay scale. The blue line is your actual annual salary. The orange line is what you would be paid if your employer had given pay awards that matched inflation.  The difference between the two lines is your real terms pay cut – the difference in the purchasing power between what your pay should be and what your pay is.

The graph has simply looked at the cuts in real terms since 2019 – and ignores the real terms pay cuts since 2009. The graph shows lecturer on point 44 has lost around £6000 in purchasing power since 2019. In other wards, a real terms pay cut of £6,000 in four years alone.

Youd think that your employer would protect you from the cost-of-living crisis, especially after working so hard during Covid, but, no.

Salary graph

While your employer has been cutting the value of your pay in real terms, your cost-of-living, has rocketed.

Inflation might be falling slightly now but that simply means that prices are going up slightly slower. The cost-of-living crisis is not over, and inflation is still rising faster than your pay rises. You need a larger pay rise to mitigate against these rising costs. The university sector pay offer doesn’t meet inflation, but create a huge downward pressure on academic pay across the sector that is unsustainable and unfair.

For example, mortgage rates are up to 6.99% on variable rates, with fixed and tracker deals hard to come by. This is a 20-year high. The Guardian reported on 12th June that mortgages would be hard to renew for those coming to the end of their deals. In other words, we anticipate further cost pressure for members in future.

If you rent your home, rental costs are up by 4.9% across the 12 months to February 2022.These rental costs are cumulative to recent rental hikes.

Food prices are up by 19.1%. Again, these huge rises are on top of food prices inflation for last year. This is a huge rise to absorb amidst a pay packet which is facing real terms cuts in value.

Energy prices are up by 36.2% for gas and 17.3% for electricity. You have already lost enough of the value of your salary this year to pay a full year's energy costs thanks to the 2022 pay offer (that your employer imposed) leaving you 8.8% worse off in real terms last year.

Fuel prices may have come down a little form their record highs, but they have still risen faster than HE pay settlements -  £1.45 for diesel and £1.43 for petrol making your commute and other travelling costs more expensive.

Remember these cuts in the value of your pay will affect you well after you have left employment, as they will have an effect on the value of your pension once you retire. The devaluing of your pay is not simply short term – it is life long, and it must stop.

EIS-ULA is urging you to reject the UCEA 2023-24 pay offer and vote YES to Strike action and YES to action short of strike.

If you can't find your ballot or have not received your online voting codes, please contact us at ballot@eis.org.uk

It's time for #FairPayToday!