June 7th, 2006

globe (grey)

Strike that.

Elsewhere on LJ a friend said:

A week ago UK university academics rejected a 13.1% pay deal over three years. Last night they accepted an 'improved' offer of 13.1% over three years. Way to go!

As someone who has been involved in the dispute I commented, and I figure I may as well reproduce it here.

The "improved" offer differs in the third year.

In the old version it was fixed at 2.5%. Now it's the higher of RPI or 2.5%, with option of review if an independent study of HE finances and pay says it could be higher. They've also added vague assurances about not pressuring people to catch up on the marking, and on those universities which have done so returning docked pay (given that the work it was docked for not doing will now be being done).

And no, they haven't accepted it yet, they've just agreed to ballot the union members on it, and to suspend the industrial action in the meantime. From what I've seen all of the keen activists will be voting No, it remains to be seen what the rest of the union will think. If they just went with the two year offer leaving the third year to be negotiated later, and made the assurances on docked pay more concrete then I think the union would be more likely to accept.

(It's complicated by the fact the two unions involved have now become one joint union as of last week!)

Offer here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/l/k/2006payagreement06-09.pdf

Commentary here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/r/4/he2006payoffer_commentary.pdf

Gah, they're reporting it in the radio news as being accepted too, even though they mention the ballot. *shakes head at quality of news reporting*

I'm curious to talk to my mum about it actually, as her local union is much more active than I've found things here in Cambridge. And of course since the majority of the Action Short of a Strike has been in not setting exam papers or marking work it's had much more of an affect on her work than it has on mine. She's been under a lot of pressure the last few weeks which has been very much missing for me. It'll be interesting to know if she's relieved to be able to go back to work properly (of course she's still been working fulltime, just on other aspects of her job), or if she thinks it's a sell-out. Listening to the activists mailing list today though has been instructive - they're very cross with union leadership getting even this close to accepting the offer. Surely there must have been *some* reason they didn't hold out for better though? I get the impression that they've been told that if they push for anything more than national negotiation will break down entirely. I guess right now it's just a case of wait and see.