12 May 2022

To the Joint Trades Unions’ Local Pay Representatives

Download PDF Version

Dear Colleagues,

Without prejudice

Thank you for submitting the Joint Trades Unions’ pay claim for 2022-23. We welcomed the opportunity on 29 April 2022, at our first local pay bargaining meeting to discuss your local pay claim. We would also like to take this opportunity to formally thank you for attending the Provost’s Board meeting on Tuesday 26 April 2022 to present your claim.

We understand that the objective of your pay claim continues to be “maintaining, at a minimum, the value of pay at Imperial since we left national pay bargaining in 2005”.

We acknowledge that the context of this year’s award is very different from previous years,with inflation rising rapidly; the increased National Insurance contributions; rising energy prices and as well as other (cost of living) costs generally rising. We also agree with your assessment that these increased costs will “hit the lower-paid far more acutely”. You shared with us that you had produced your own inflation forecast based on the Bank of England projections, because the London CPIH report reflects inflation in 2020 and which does not recognise the current level of inflation.

Since 2005, the cumulative percentage increase of the College pay award has been up to 40.1% (Appendix A). This is greater than the cumulative national pay award since 2005, when local pay bargaining was introduced: with national awards up to 35.7%, this is a difference in percentage terms of 4.4%. We also recognise and acknowledge that this hasnot fully matched inflation.

We note that your pay claim predominately focuses on the impact of inflation on salary, whilst the Provost’s Board considers the wider Total Remuneration Package (TRP) when reviewing the level of investment to be made in the pay award. We note you have included as part of your claim, a percentage uplift to be awarded to all staff to reflect the changes to the USS benefit structure. As a College, we have worked in partnership with yourself (our local UCU branch) to try and influence the outcome of the recent USS valuation, including producing a joint statement and, as we have shared, we, like you remain disappointed with the outcome, but intend to try and continue to influence the structure for the future.

The College’s Total Remuneration Package (TRP) approach considers all elements of pay received by staff. Over the last year, the College has invested an average of 4% in salaries, please see the survivor analysis table at Appendix B. This includes the annual automatic increments that benefit circa 53% of staff. For eligible academic and research staff, this will be an average increase of 4.3%; for support staff, 2.5% on top of any across-the-board pay rise. The College also completes an annual review of staff salaries against internal benchmark data.

Affordability

To support the production of your pay claim, you were provided with an overview of the College’s finances on 30 March 2022. This overview pointed out why the operating surplus (£22.9 million in 2020/21) was a more appropriate figure to consider than the overall surplus (£161.7 million) in the context of the affordability of pay increases, as the latter includes volatile items like gains on investments within the College’s Endowment.

The College also faces considerable financial pressure from inflation. The nature of the College’s disciplines (STEM) mean it is particularly exposed to high energy prices and next year’s utility costs will rise significantly.

You acknowledged it might be difficult for the College to cover the Unions’ claim in its entirety without significant adjustment to College finances. However you were still of the view that this would be easier for the College as a collective to do this than it is for individuals (employees) to adjust household spending to cover costs due to inflation.

Cost of your pay claim

Your headline claim is for an across-the-board increase of 12.9% (which includes 2% for loss in value of pension benefits for USS members), which would be a recurring cost of circa £66.6m (including £22m externally funded costs).

College Pay Offer 2022/23

The Provost’s Board appreciates the efforts that you make on an annual basis as part of this process to represent the best interests of staff. The Board have carefully considered your pay claim, which you presented at the April Board meeting, alongside the unprecedented economic circumstances we find ourselves in. With this in mind, our pay offer for 2022-23 equates to a recurring cost of circa £16.5m (including £5.8m externally funded costs). We have configured the offer recognising the greater impact of the current economic position on our lower-graded staff and we have capped the increase at the top end – please see the new proposed pay scale at Appendix C. This will mean an increase of 6.72% for the lowest spine point on the 52 point pay scale and an increase of 4.09% for the lowest spine point on the 29 point pay scale. As mentioned earlier in this letter, this is in addition to 53% of staff receiving an automatic incremental salary increase on top in October 2022.

This offer will be placed on the Local Pay Bargaining webpage after our second negotiating meeting on 17 May 2022.

Yours sincerely


Audrey Fraser on behalf of the College negotiating team

Cc: Harbhajan Brar – Director of HR
Richard Craster – Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences
Tony Lawrence – Director of Finance
Tim Venables – Faculty Operating Officer, Faculty of Engineering
Lynne Cox – Director of Research Office
Jane Neary – Director of Campus Services
Lois Wiggins – HR Reward Manager
Amy Morton – HR Group Senior Coordinator
Iram Sher – HR Administrator (Reward, Engagement & Policy)

CC: Staff side representatives
Tom Pike – UCU
Vijay Tymms – UCU
Amanda Sackur – UCU
Tanya Hunt – Unison
Tahreen Dwan – Unison
Susan Parker – Unite
Andrew Murray – Unite

For Appendicies please see PDF Document