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Unite organises workers in all areas of education in the UK and Ireland. Our members work as research, technical, IT, administrative, estates, support and maintenance staff.

Mike McCartney, national officer

Update JNCHES dispute resolution meetings 18th and 19th May 2016

As National Officer I attended the two dispute resolution meetings on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th of May. Alongside a member of the Unite  H.E National Negotiating Committee.

Resolution meetings are in the JNCHES constitution, it is a mechanism to try to move to a position where a new offer might be tabled to move away from a potential dispute leading to industrial action.

Four Unions attended these meetings, UCU, Unison, EIS and Unite. GMB have not registered a dispute yet, they have some constitutional hurdles to go through.

The joint unions tried to persuade UCEA that the 1.1 % final offer didn't ' cut it '. Particularly when reserves are so high, building on campuses is at phenomenal rate. More importantly Senior Management and Vice Chancellors (these grades are outside the 51 spine points) pay is at a level of between 3 - 5 % (Times Higher article).

The joint unions told them that we know that a number of universities have budgeted for the pay bill to be at least 1.5% and in some universities as high as 2.5%.

The employers side were switched off to all these arguments. Claiming that the 1.1% was the maximum that was affordable  and even that was two high!

To be brutally honest the UCEA side were downright patronising and totally intransigent.

The unions spent two wasted days!

So the ballot that is taking place is going ahead, as you know it opened on the 13th of May and will close on the 6th of June 2016.

The response so far is very good with currently a massive overall rejection of the final offer.

Can I ask you to use any means possible to communicate with your members in branches to make sure they use their vote to reject this poor offer. Thus giving a large mandate for a statutory ballot to take industrial action. Action from all the joint unions is the only way to get movement  and a successful outcome.

A good turnout is vitally important, particularly with the Trade Union Bill attacking balloting on turnouts. 

Colleagues the UCU strike action will go ahead on the 25th and 26th of May. I have already given you advice on how members should approach this action. That advice is also on the Education website.

Unite will support UCU on both of those days (without breaking the law or members putting themselves in jeopardy of disciplinary procedures). Please let local UCU reps know of Unites support. That we predict Unite will be joining them at some point in the not too distant future.

I hope this information is useful. It is the most up to date information available .

Best wishes

Mike McCartney
National Officer
Education Sector
Mike McCartney

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