VR and Pay Freeze

Pay freeze consultation

Since we last wrote to you on 17 July, the same day as our most recent letter to VCEG,

• the university closed its consultation on the pay freeze,
• we met with Chris Cobb and HR on Tue 21 July to raise comments and concerns, and
• we received a written response to our representations shortly before the

During our meeting with Chris Cobb and HR, it was acknowledged that the pay freeze represents a change to our T&Cs. This was the first time we had heard acknowledgement from the University that this was the case; this was repeated by the VC at Monday’s Town Hall.

Typically, a change to our T&Cs requires our consent. The consultation exercise may have been an attempt by the University to seek to evidence that staff were agreeing to this change. However, in our representations to the University, we were clear that our engagement should not be interpreted as agreement. We accept that COVID-19 is impacting University budgets in new and significant ways, but we would also argue that the University made no meaningful attempt to negotiate with us on this matter. There’s a clear difference between consultation and negotiation.

We requested sight of the Equality Impact Assessment. This has not been provided; instead, equalities statistics have been given, the validity of which we have concerns about as outlined in our latest letter to VCEG (currently being prepared).

Also, very few of the specific and reasonable questions we’ve been asking on your behalf were answered. On Monday, we received just a page and a half of answers to ‘frequently asked’ questions.

Voluntary redundancy proposal

On Friday, HR shared details of a proposed VR formula applicable for the coming months. For upcoming restructures, they have proposed:

Actual (gross) weekly pay x length of service x 1.5
(with length of service is rounded up/down to the nearest full-year)

We are doing some additional research to compare this proposal with what equivalent universities are offering, but our initial view is that this falls significantly short of what is being offered elsewhere at the moment through similar schemes.

It’s important we know what you think about this offer in order to inform our position over the coming days and weeks, so please do get in touch.

UCU Senate House Committee