Yesterday, UCU negotiators met with UCEA for the first time since our ballot on pay and equality opened, despite our repeated requests to meet before the beginning of industrial action. It is clear that it was UCU’s strong ballot result and the prospect of solid industrial action which have brought UCEA to the table, and we thank our members for your strong and vibrant support which has had – and will continue to have – an impact on these discussions. We know exactly what it means to each of us to be called upon to withdraw our labour.
In the meeting, we made it clear that UCU members expect progress on all aspects of the claim, and pressed the employers’ representatives to improve their offer on each of the four interconnected areas of pay and working conditions. UCEA have agreed to return to their member institutions, and have committed to a written response early next week.
We wish to reiterate that while we are pleased that this consultation is occurring, the fact that it is happening against the backdrop of ongoing industrial action is a sign of a significant disconnect between university management and the staff who make up our higher education institutions. We have advised UCEA to strongly encourage their membership to engage with staff on the picket lines, and to listen to what working conditions are truly like in our sector, in order to inform their response about the progress to which they are willing to commit in this dispute.
We will communicate again when we are in a position to do so.
on behalf of UCU HE pay and equality national negotiators