Imperial College 2024-25 pay offer ACCEPTED and pay disputes concluded

On 4/4/24 we were able to inform Imperial UCU members that the members of all three Imperial College affiliated trade unions voted to ACCEPT the College pay award for 2024-25.
The Joint Trade Union (JTU) pay negotiation team informed College management that the pay award has been accepted by the unions, and that this has formally ended the trade dispute over pay that has been running for approximately 3 years.
While this is good news, it is not without several caveats. We include below the full acceptance email sent to the College Negotiating Team (CNT) on the matter, where we also provide them with the principal features of the membership free text survey responses that outline membership sentiment and recognised shortcomings in the offer.
Regarding UCU members free text survey responses we have read and appreciated all of them, and will address every aspect in good time. For now we would just like to thank everyone who provided a response, and add that we especially appreciate the numerous expressions of gratitude and support that came in.


Acceptance email to College management on the 2024-25 pay award

Sent: 04 April 2024 18:26
Subject: JTU response to the full & final pay offer 2024-25

Dear College Negotiating Team,

The JTU pay negotiation team are happy to report that members of all three trade unions have voted to ACCEPT the College’s “full & final pay offer” for 2024-25. We therefore:

(a) Accept the 2024-25 Imperial College pay offer, as detailed in emails exchanged on 14/3/24 and outlined on the College webpage and

(b) Formally end the long-running trade disputes over pay between all three trade unions and Imperial College.

We also feel it important to provide you with insights into the full range of views expressed. Each union provided members with the option of adding a comment alongside their vote on whether to accept or reject the pay offer. Each union received several constructive and useful comments; we provide a summary of the principal features of the comments that we think it is useful for the CNT to bear in mind:

The primary feature was that many members of all three unions took the time to express gratitude to the JTU side of the pay negotiations specifically, citing the difficulty of the role in the face of negotiating with the CNT in pay negotiations previously.

There were also a significant number of comments expressing dissatisfaction with the magnitude of the pay offer, noting that while it goes some way to restoring the spending power of College salaries after the pay cuts caused by high inflation over the last few years, it does not go far enough, and that the College could easily afford more, should it wish to. There were pointed remarks about the fact that only a small proportion of the USS savings were going to staff.

Two features of the pay offer were subject to extensive negative criticism:

(i) The “top up” for those above the £120K threshold was noticed by several members who expressed strong resentment that there should be what is perceived to be an enhanced financial protection for super-earners.

(ii) The CNT tactic from the 2023-24 pay negotiations of providing an offer of a £500 one-off payment which would be (and was) subsequently removed when the pay offer wasn’t accepted has clearly caused deep resentment. Members have variously and severally brought this up, referring to it as a “bribe”, a “threat”, and “act of blackmail”. Although not exactly the same, the explicit threat to withdraw the £1,000 consolidated payment was seen by many members as similar. Some stated they have rejected the offer on principle on this basis. You will recall our lengthy dialogues over this very point; the JTU would like to avoid this condition featuring in the future.

Imperial UCU solidarity with Goldsmiths

We were pleased to welcome Henrike Donner from Goldsmiths UCU to our quorate all members’ meeting earlier this month, where she spoke to us about the terrible threats of redundancies at their branch, where 25% of jobs are at risk as part of a major restructure.
They are currently balloting on strike action, and we voted to donate £500 from our branch to their strike fund.
See here and the Goldsmiths UCU Twitter account for further details and updates, including information on how to make an individual donation should you wish.

Imperial UCU supports workers at the RSA in their pay dispute

Charity workers at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) are in the midst of a bitter pay dispute. Imperial UCU have passed a motion (full details in PDF below) to support the RSA union. We have sent a donation to the strike solidarity fund, and are asking Imperial UCU members to boycott any activities organised by the RSA.

Strike action continues at the RSA this month, with dates announced for the 26th – 28th February, and a demo outside the RSA Fellows’ Festival on 2nd March. Please do what you can to go along and support.

Imperial UCU motion with full list of resolutions here:

IC UCU RSA solidarity motion passed

Imperial UCU response to the Academic job titles consultation exercise

Several UCU members contacted the union with some concerns and constructive criticisms regarding the current proposals on change to Academic job titles (see here – Consultation_Background_ Academic_Staff), and asked if the union might be able to provide a response to the consultation. Following this we asked for input across the whole membership (i.e. across all job families, and also including several members of the working group and related workstreams) on whether the UCU should provide a response, and, if so, what the response should say.

Following several written responses, and following a well-attended and constructive lunchtime meeting on Thursday 15th February 2024, open to the whole membership, we produced this response, which we sent to the Provost and working group members for consideration on Monday 19th February 2024.

Academic titles consultation UCU response

Imperial Joint Trade Unions’ negotiators’ report on the 2023-24 pay negotiations

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:

Negotiators’ report

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.


Ballot question

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?


A message for students, past and present, at Imperial College London, from the UCU

Dear all,

this is a message from the Imperial College branch of the UCU to say THANK YOU to the student body of Imperial College for your support over the last few years in the battle to save our pensions. The problems started over 10 years ago, and came to head in 2018 when the union went on the first of a series of strikes over proposed cuts which would have destroyed the pension scheme. 

We are pleased to say, that after many years of strikes and negotiations, it looks like our pension benefits are set to be restored. This is conditional on events that will happen over the next few months, but the forecast is very positive. 

Two things are for sure though:  

(i) if we had settled for the management line, and not taken strike action over the last 6 years, our pensions would now be worth a lot less, and, 

(ii) the strikes would not have been anywhere near as effective without the support of the student body.

There are further fights to be won in Higher Education – our local dispute over pay continues for example – but this is significant, so our thanks for your continued support.


Imperial College UCU

Recommendation on declaring days of MAB action

Imperial UCU MAB declaration recommendation
You don’t declare MAB until asked, and then you must declare.
Different parts of College are handling this in different ways but one eventual outcome following a declaration is that your department informs HR, who then write you a standard message informing you of the 25% pay deduction on a certain day. Note the time lag on receiving this message following declaration is variable, and seems to take at least two weeks. 
It seems HR are sending a standard letter from their industrial action account with a line in italics in the middle that either says (a) they have noted you want pensions contributions made up, or, (b) that have not​ been informed about this yet, so please reply if want this done. With MAB, wait till this letter arrives and then reply if needed to have the pension contributions made up.

Recommendation on declaring days of strike action

We recommend the following following days of full strike action 
The employer won’t formally know unless you declare it after the action.
You must​ inform HR after​ you have been on strike. You can email HR at copying in anyone else relevant (e.g. your line manager and/or HoD) with something like:
To whom it may concern,
This is to notify you that I participated in [N] days of UCU industrial action striking on the
[list of dates]
I would like to make my employee’s pension contributions for the [N] days that I took strike action and I request that the College make the employer’s contributions for those [N] days. I ask for confirmation about whether this action will be taken.
                [your name & CID]