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HEC meeting and next phase of pay and USS disputes

Branches have been invited to discuss with members the next phase of the pay and USS disputes ahead of a special HEC on 30 January and to feed in their views.

A special meeting of the higher education committee (HEC) has been scheduled for 30 January to consider the next steps in the USS and pay disputes. The purpose of this update is to invite you to discuss the pay dispute in particular with your members and feed in your views to HEC ahead of that meeting.

The HEC is the only body that can officially call industrial action in either of these disputes. At its next meeting its elected members will have in front of them the decision of last month's USS sector conference to schedule 14 further days of strike action over USS this term, starting on 20 February. They will have very serious regard to that decision because it gives them a clear mandate to formally call the action on USS, although they will also consider whatever developments have taken place in negotiations over USS since sector conference met.

HEC will also consider whether to schedule further action on pay, and if so, when and how much. There was no equivalent meeting of sector conference for the pay dispute and therefore HEC does not have a comparable direct mandate provided to it. There has also not been any formal mechanism for members and branches to have a say about the scheduling of action. The period leading up to 30 January is therefore an important opportunity for branches to deliberate about the pay dispute and reach an opinion which will help to inform HEC's decision making. This is particularly important for post-92 branches that are only participating in the pay dispute and not USS.

Branch officers and executives should use this opportunity to consult their members by holding a meeting and/or in whatever way(s) they deem appropriate and make any representations they wish to make to HEC.

For information about the progress of negotiations in the pay dispute so far, please consult my recent email updates to members which are available on the UCU website.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Last updated: 5 March 2020