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HE pay improvements are despite best efforts of employers, says UCU

19 June 2008 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Responding to two reports released today by the employers' association, the universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA), UCU said staff in our universities deserved recognition and reward for their hard work.

UCU also said it would be disingenuous of the employers to claim credit for improved salaries after fighting so hard against the pay settlement agreed in 2006. The union said the 'Conditions of employment in higher education' report painted a misleading picture of the number of hours worked, as it asked what hours staff were contracted to do and not what they actually did.

On the facts and figure report, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'After two decades of pay "rises" often at below inflation level, pay in higher education has now kept pace with inflation and begun to catch up with other comparable professions. The 2006-2009 pay deal wouldn't be anywhere near as high as it is without the pressure from UCU members through their industrial action. It is a little disingenuous of the employers to try and take credit for a pay rise they fought against.'

On the Conditions of employment in higher education report, Sally Hunt said: 'UCEA member institutions may have provided information on contracted hours, but this blatantly disregards the actual hours worked each week by academics and paints a misleading picture. Surveys over the past 40 years - including those conducted by the employers - have consistently shown academics working on average 50 hours a week or more. Year after year education professionals feature at the top of the TUC's table of unpaid overtime and our own recent polling cited the admin overload as the reason so many lecturers are working so many hours.

'Nobody can refute that staff in higher education work extremely hard or that they deserve to be properly rewarded. The growth in their productivity following increased student numbers has been phenomenal over the past 20 years. For a long time, university employers held their pay rises down to the level of inflation or below. They are worth the increase in pay, and the generally good conditions of employment they have.'