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Contribution Pay

November 9, 2010

The University of Leeds has published details of its contribution pay exercise this year without any consultation with the unions. We believe this is in breach of the Framework Agreement. What is more, staff in FBS are being excluded from this exercise. We have asked for the announcement to be withdrawn until the agreed procedure for negotiation has taken place, but this has not been actioned.

The University budgeted for a 2.5% increase in staff costs last year and 2% increase this year. Last year the salary increase was 0.5% and this year it is 0.4%. The university has plenty of slack in its funds. The 2009/10 actual results have turned out to be millions higher than had been forecast.

The pay framework agreement was negotiated by the higher education unions and the employers over a two year period and was finalised in March 2004. You can download and read the Framework Agreement here.

This is the section from the framework agreement that relates to contribution pay:

Progression Within Grades
All staff covered by this agreement will have pay progression opportunities within the pay range for their grade.
Arrangements for such progression should be: designed to offer equal opportunities for all staff in each particular grade, and to reward the acquisition of experience and contribution; and operated with demonstrable fairness, transparency and objectivity.
Progression within each pay range will depend in part on an individual’s length of service in the grade and in part on an assessment of their contribution; although staff will have a normal expectation of annual progression up to the contribution threshold for their grade, subject exceptionally to established procedures for dealing with performance problems.
HE institutions will determine detailed arrangements for progression, in partnership with their recognised trades unions and in accordance with the principles set out in Appendix D; and will communicate these clearly to staff.
JNCHES will develop good practice guidance in this area.

Appendix D is crystal clear about ‘active partnership’

APPENDIX D – Progression Within Grades

Institutions covered by this agreement will develop detailed arrangements for pay progression within grades, in line with the principles set out in this Appendix and in active partnership with their recognised trades unions.

There are three forms of pay progression:

1. Progression up to the contribution threshold for each grade, reflecting the growing experience and skill of the job holder. Staff will have a normal expectation that progression from point to point up to this threshold will take place on an annual basis, subject exceptionally to existing procedures for dealing with performance problems.
2. Accelerated incremental progression, reflecting substantially greater than normal application of skill and experience by the job holder.
3. Discretionary progression beyond the agreed contribution threshold.

The University of Leeds has made no movement toward active partnership, as per their agreement with the unions, on this issue, and have therefore released details of the scheme prematurely, in our view.

The complete freeze of contribution pay in FBS is in direct contravention of the requirement for “… equal opportunities for all staff in each particular grade, and to reward the acquisition of experience and contribution; and operated with demonstrable fairness, transparency and objectivity.”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. patches on elbows permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:25 AM

    Let me just second guess something. The University has delayed this exercise this year, and has not explained why. Now we learn that the delay has not been caused by any negotiation with our unions. What is more, they are in breach of the framework agreement, despite all their talk of behaving properly, with due process, and with respect to all employees.

    So – what are they going to say – they are going to blame the unions for causing further delay by insisting on proper procedures? Am I right?

  2. Sue Madeupname permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:27 AM

    As a female employee in the Faculty of Biological sciences, I’m not at all surprised by this deliberate failure to treat all staff equally. Haven’t they learned, after all we’ve been through – CONSULT WITH OUR UNION.

  3. Another Academic permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:30 AM

    I can just hear it now. I can write the University’s response myself:

    “The University respects all its staff and wants to treat all fairly (except those in FBS). This contribution pay exercise is already delayed this year, and we think the UCU’s insistence that we abide by our agreements with the unions will only cause delay to our staff, who deserve and merit an opportunity to apply for contribution pay (except those in FBS). Other Universities are withholding contribution pay altogether, so we’re really nice to have even thought about it.”

  4. An academic permalink
    November 9, 2010 12:32 PM

    Even when the contribution pay exercise runs normally, “discretion” is a byword for “discrimination.”

    To put this another way, directly comparable achievements are unevenly rewarded.

  5. Julie in Fine Art permalink
    November 9, 2010 7:31 PM

    What can we do though? The University does whatever the **** it wants. It doesn’t consult, it doesn’t listen when it does consult (‘consultation’ here just means them telling us what they’re going to do). I really do give up.

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