Campaign Update 24 November

Created on: 24 Nov 2021

The Difference is Striking

Dear Colleague

With it being nearly one week since the EIS-ULA statutory ballot over pay opening, your voting papers should now have arrived with you by post. If you have not received your papers, please contact and check that the EIS holds the correct details for you.

Today, at 12:30pm, a national EIS-ULA online meeting will take place on Facebook. Speakers from the EIS-ULA executive will be joined by colleagues from the EIS main body, and EIS-FELA. This meeting will afford all members a valuable opportunity to hear from their national representatives, as well as messages of solidarity from the wider EIS.

As inflation rises, the effects of the real terms pay cut imposed upon EIS-ULA members become greater. These effects are compounded by years of stagnation in Higher Education pay; with your pay declining by 29% since 2009, when measured against RPI.

A top of the scale unpromoted lecturer, on New JNCHES pay point 43, was paid £43,840pa in August 2009, in July 2021 that person would be on £49,553 an increase of 13.0%. The RPI index for the same period role from 214.4 to 305.5, i.e. 42,5%. This gives members a real terms pay cut of 29.5% between  2009 and 2020/21 – i.e. the period of time that the university sector has exercised a policy of pay restraint for non-senior posts.

Had a top of the scale lecturer post’s 2009 pay risen with RPI inflation then it would have been £62,472pa in July 2021, not £49,553.

Put simply; your pay is significantly lower than it should rightly be, the value of your pay has been deliberately allowed to fall for over a decade in order to allow universities to operate surpluses, build new buildings, acquire more resources, carry out initiatives and fund ever increasing senior salaries. 

Against this backdrop of widespread pay erosion, the decision by your employers to forgo further negotiations and impose a sub-inflation pay offer, of 1.5% for most ULA members, evidences an attitude of taking staff for granted, believing that they will not fight back. The Employers have now stopped pretending that pay is a negotiated matter – and they simply imposed their pay offer at the end of the summer in 2021, as they did in 2019.  

Compare the difference in Scottish Universities with Scottish schools and Scottish colleges. In these sectors, the staff collectively act to defend their pay with strikes and threatened strikes. The SRUC’s members won concessions on future pay after four days of strike action. Your employers aren’t willing to keep up the value of your pay, thus, it is down to you. The difference is striking.

Please ensure that you vote YES to both strike action and action short of strike action, sending the clearest possible message to your employers that the time has come to reverse the trend of pay erosion in Higher Education.