The JTUs submitted a pay claim for 5.44%, a recurring annual cost of circa £25.4M. This level of additional recurrent annual expenditure is not affordable to the College. The pay award implemented was an annual increase of £1,080, a recurring annual cost of circa £10M.

In early August, all three unions (UCU, UNISON, and Unite) voted to reject an offer of a local pay award of 2.35% with a minimum £600 and maximum £1,400 payment (an average award of 2%).

In light of the financial challenges facing the College, Provost’s Board were not able to increase the funds available for the pay award as the JTUs requested. However, Provost’s Board agreed to delay implementation of the pay award by a month in order to put four options to the unions for their consideration – within the same financial ceiling of a 2% cost overall. The pay award was still to be effective from 1 August but implemented, with arrears, in September.

The unions informed the College that they did not accept any of the four options, but in the same correspondence also informally indicated that UNISON and Unite had a preference for the option that was implemented. Provost’s Board therefore agreed to implement the option that had a majority preference. That meant distributing the resources to give every member of staff the same additional increase to their pay.

UCU informed the College of their intention to ballot their membership over the pay award and what they saw as an imposition of a pay increase without proper negotiation. The College view is that the 2019 negotiations were not outside the agreed procedure or without proper negotiation.

College representatives met with the JTUs to review the 2019 process, and to update the pay bargaining constitution and terms of reference for future negotiations. The changes agreed mean that negotiations will be concluded in May and all pay offers and responses from the JTUs will immediately be published on a website for access by all staff.

The 2019 Pay Claim included a request for working groups to be set up to review the use of fixed-term contracts, the gender pay gap and workload. Work has started with the JTUs on these topics.

Pay increases under the 2019 pay award

For 2019, the average increase across the College was 4.5%. This average increase is made up of a number of factors.

In addition to the local pay award of £1,080, the percentage increase value of the flat rate increase is dependent on individual salaries.

For example:

  • The £1,080 amount was a 5% increase for staff on the lowest pay grades earning £20,000-£21,000 per year. These staff do not receive any incremental progression in addition to the local pay award.
  • It was between a 4.9% to 2% increase for salaries up to £55,000.
  • It was a 1.54% increase for salaries of £70,000.

The increase also benefited our regular casual and contractor staff, who received an increase in their hourly wage from £10.60 to £11.16.

6,593 members of staff are employed on an incremental spine point and 4,070 of these (62%) also received an automatic pay increase in addition to the pay award:

  •  The average value of the increase for academic and research staff is 4.3%
  • The average value of the increase for professional, technical and operational staff is 2.5%

In addition, 1,096 members of staff received an adjustment to their pay or a one-off payment as part of the annual pay relativity exercise. This data was shared as part of the 2019 Pay and Benefits Review, which will be updated for 2020. Any pay adjustments made as part of this exercise are also reflected in the total average increase, though one-off payments are not counted.

Clinical staff are employed on clinical pay scales determined by the NHS, and some staff receive additional payments and increases in line with these pay scales.

All of the above factors make up the total average increase of 4.5% for the College.

Senior Pay

Pay for Senior Staff is reviewed by the independent Remuneration Committee, composed of non-executive Council. As part of the annual review of the College’s reward strategy, the Committee are provided with the average total percentage increase for all staff and a list of senior staff who earn a salary greater than or equal to £150K. They assess the justification for any variation to pay with reference to the College’s pay relativity criteria.

In 2019, 180 senior staff (Academic: 86; Clinical Academic: 79; Professional Services: 15) were on a salary of at least £150K. Twenty-one of these were new or changed roles for academic appointments and one of these staff members was a new professional services individual.

Of these 180, 36 received an increase which was above the average percentage increase for all staff (that is, an increase of more than 4.5%). 34 of these were academic staff.

The Remuneration Committee also reviewed the Government’s changes on pension taxation in 2016 and agreed the Pay in Lieu of Pension guidance for individuals who were impacted by pension tax allowances.

They agreed the Policy on retention of Income from External Interests July 2018, which is in keeping with the spirit of the Register of External Interest and Annual Declaration. Both policies allow staff, subject to prior approval, to be engaged in general paid and unpaid activities.