Marking boycott called off as agreement reached

June 6th, 2022

Further to the staff message issued by the Vice-Chancellor last week, this article has been updated to reflect the final terms of the agreement between the University Executive Board and the University of Nottingham UCU Branch.

Members of the University Executive Board and the University of Nottingham UCU Branch have reached an agreement on issues surrounding USS pensions, staff pay, pay gaps, casualisation, and staff workload. This means that the UCU National Office has been asked to authorise the ending of the current marking and assessment boycott at the University with immediate effect.

The University Executive Board and University of Nottingham UCU Branch have worked collaboratively to agree a package of measures based on a shared understanding of what can be resolved locally.

You can read the full agreement here which includes commitments to:

  • support the highest possible national pay award, recognising that UCEA must meet the needs of all its members.
  • raise the current maximum spinal point of Level 4, Level 5 and Level 6 by one point. This will provide a 3% uplift for staff at levels 4, 5 and 6 on the maximum points of the scale (around 27% of staff at levels 4, 5 and 6) in addition to 65% who are due to receive an increment due to satisfactory performance. In addition, the University will remain committed to pay the Real Living Wage to all staff.
  • subject to the March 2022 funding position for the USS pension, support the improvement of member contributions or benefits (subject to consultation) without destabilising the pension scheme. This would be in advance of a March 2023 valuation.
  • call on the USS Board of Trustees to ensure that all future valuations are evidence-based and employ a reasonable, mutually agreed upon level of prudence.
  • UCU and UUK working together to explore the feasibility and promise of conditional indexation as a more cost-effective means of providing inflation protection as opposed to a cap on CPI revaluation; working together to develop a solution that addresses affordability and access to pensions; and to develop proposals for governance reform in advance of the next valuation to ensure that USS is more accountable, transparent, and collaborative with the higher education sector.
  • ensure that any future proposals of changes to benefits are preceded by a thorough analysis of their impact on women, minority groups and early career staff and are accompanied by concrete and mutually agreed upon measures to protect these groups from disproportionately negative impact.

There are further commitments to review workloads; tackle casualisation with the continued roll out of the Graduate Teaching Assistant Model, and to continue to work constructively and collaboratively to eliminate gender, race and disability pay gaps, in particular to accelerate work to deliver a reduction to the race pay gap by 2024; sharing data with unions and ensuring paid time or workload allocation to the chairs of the staff networks.

Following a challenging period, the University Executive Board and University of Nottingham UCU Branch have worked collaboratively to agree this package of measures. We will now move forward together on the commitments which have been made to help deliver an improved working environment for all colleagues at Nottingham.

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