Created on: 29 Sep 2021
As we approach tomorrow’s day of strike action and the start of the Action Short of Strike Action, I wish to update members as to the dispute and how we are leaving no stone unturned to resolve the dispute at SRUC.
Update on Negotiations
Two weeks ago, EIS representatives met with Principal Wayne Powell, for our first formal meeting with him since 2018, to discuss the dispute. We outlined what would be required to resolve the dispute – namely an interim agreement on the future Pay & Grading Review that included and an implementation date (aka a ‘Pin’ date). We received assurances that the SRUC understood the dispute and that it would seek to publish a draft interim agreement and project plan for the Pay & Grading review ‘within days’.
Members should be aware that the EIS sent a draft Framework Agreement to facilitate the Pay & Grading Review to the SRUC in August based on the Framework Agreement adopted by almost all HEIs in the UK in 2004.
The EIS and other Trade Unions received the SRUC Interim Framework Agreement and Project Plan on the evening of Monday 27th September and a meeting took place yesterday (September 28th) at 4.00pm to discuss the documents.
At this meeting, it was clarified that SRUC does not intend to implement any new pay and grading structure until at least Autumn 2023, and do not currently plan to actually agree on a structure until summer 2023. This is clearly unacceptable – and the Trade Unions informed SRUC of this yesterday.
In essence, the SRUC Pay & Grading review seeks to evaluate SRUC current mish-mash of posts and then create an SRUC posts structure out of these, and then match these into a new pay grade structure in 2023. Staff pay grades will not be affected until late 2023. This design might create a logical SRUC Pay & Grading structure, but it will not anchor SRUC’s Pay & Grading to the rest of the HE sector. In other words, this Pay & Grading Review will keep SRUC staff being underpaid compared to the rest of the HE sector.
The EIS proposal for the SRUC Pay & Grading Framework was to implement role profiles, job families and pay grades that are the HE sector norm – and to match members into these profiles. Members have waited long enough for a fair and sector norm pay system and were promised in 2019, that they would have it by April 2020. To ask you to wait several more years (if the SRUC meets its proposed timetable) simply to continue underpaying relative to the rest of the HE sector is unreasonable – and unacceptable
We continue to negotiate with the SRUC, but we are still some distance from an acceptable agreement that would allow us to suspend industrial action with a proposal that we can recommend to you from the SRUC.
Our position is shared by Unison, which also lodged a dispute this week over the SRUC’s Pay & Grading proposals.
Last week, we offered the SRUC talks for today (29th September) to give an opportunity to negotiate a resolution up to the final hour, but this request was ignored.
Our strike action is still going ahead on 30th September – tomorrow. An FAQ has been added to the website but if you have any more questions, please contact me at email@example.com
Action short of a strike (ASOS) is also being carried out and this includes:
7 Things You Can Do To Today
Look out for an article on the dispute in the upcoming Scottish Education Journal (SEJ) which will be published soon. The EIS is determined to raise the profile of this dispute within the education sector but above all please remember this dispute is only as strong as the effort and action SRUC members are prepared to put in over the next few months.
Industrial Action is nobody’s first choice, and we will continue to explore all avenues to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible. The more pressure you can put on by holding fast to the strike and the action short of a strike, the more you empower your negotiators to reach an acceptable settlement with SRUC on the dispute.
Finally, EIS has agreed to pay strike pay to members taking strike action at SRUC. You can find out how our strike pay works and how to apply here. Only members can access this part of the website, so have your membership details to hand to log in. You can also receive an emailed copy by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
EIS remains ready and willing to negotiate a good settlement for our members at SRUC and we hope that management will come to their senses and do just that before further action becomes necessary. Taking strong action next week will help us come closer to fair pay at SRUC, and your union stands strong behind you at this time. I will see you on the picket lines, and together we will show our resolve to management in getting #FairPayForSRUC
National Officer for HE