Imperial College’s three recognised trade unions are consulting their members on the latest pay offer. Herewith the unions’ pay negotiators’ report, and consultation question as posed to members from Imperial UCU:
The Joint Trade Unions (JTU) at Imperial College have continued to seek a resolution to the current pay disputes through an Acas conciliation process. Our key aim in these negotiations has been to obtain an increase in the College pay offer for 2023-24, with any improvement consolidated into pay scales. We have also sought to (i) reopen discussions in relation to the Professional, Technical and Operating staff pay scales which were previously close to agreement but which was ended unilaterally in 2022, and, (ii) reach a satisfactory resolution for members impacted by deductions for undertaking the Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB).
The context of these negotiations is that Imperial College has seen a significant improvement in its finances for 2022-23. Where management initially predicted a small annual loss, there has been, in fact, a comfortable surplus.
Despite this surplus, Imperial College has made it clear that any possible improvement in the pay offer would be unconsolidated, i.e. provided as a one-off payment. In contrast, for a number of reasons, we have consistently stressed the need to incorporate any offer into pay scales. In an attempt to make progress we proposed to Imperial that they consider an increase in London Weighting (currently around £3,200) which is consolidated into pay scales. We reminded Imperial that a number of London Higher Education institutions are increasing their London Weighting payments: UCL, for example, has announced an increase to £4,500 from August 2023 and there will be a further increase to £5,000 for grades 1-7 in December. Kings College, London is currently in negotiation with the recognised trades unions in relation to an offer of £4,500 in August 2023.
The JTU are of the view that given the state of Imperial College’s finances, they could easily afford to offer the same payment.
The College has maintained that any improvement for pay for 2023 -24 would need to be financed by some of the savings that are predicted from reductions in employer contributions to the USS pension scheme. These reductions will be confirmed soon. We assured the College that USS predicts that these savings will be long-term and therefore offer enough certainty to consolidate any improvement into pay scales. The College is not prepared to accept this position and is only offering a taxable £500 non-consolidated payment in December.
Management is indicating that it is prepared to enter discussions on the PTO scale but is not prepared to move on proposed deductions from salary for members who participate in the MAB.
Since College has indicated that they will not discuss the matter further, we are now consulting you on its current offer even though this has not changed since we last consulted you. We are undertaking an electronic consultative ballot between Friday 1st and Friday 15th September 2023. Management has made it clear that if members do not accept their offer and end the disputes, then the desultory offer of a £500 unconsolidated payment will be withdrawn.
While we recognise that the additional offer of £500 is a result of members’ industrial action, the negotiators note that College could easily afford a higher offer and that the current one still reflects a significant real-terms pay cut. The JTU negotiators are therefore recommending rejection of this offer. We have also come to the conclusion that, given the intransigence of management, to obtain any more concessions, we would need to undertake further sustained and effective industrial action.
The pay offer put to us by management is the same as it was when we last consulted. The union is still recommending that you vote reject. The offer is:
- A payment equivalent to a one-off lump sum of £625 in July 2023.
- An increase in pay of 5.5% in August 2023 with a floor of £2,500 and ceiling of £5,000.
- A one-off payment of £500 in December 2023.
Do you accept this offer?