Skip to main content

Savings affecting your pay and development

Message from the Provost and Registrar, 7 June 2021

Dear colleagues

Last summer, we had to make some very difficult decisions about the University’s finances in response to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleagues across the institution were hugely supportive in reducing expenditure on a broad range of activities, including capital and travel. With more than half of our expenditure being on staff, unfortunately it was also necessary to look at savings on staff expenditure. We wanted to make every effort to protect jobs and avoid compulsory redundancies, so our starting point was to review all new recruitment, reallocate staff to priority areas and offer colleagues the opportunity to reduce their working hours. Some of you also agreed to be furloughed under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. With trade union support, we also suspended the 2020 Professorial Salary Review and 2020/21 academic promotions, and the Above and Beyond Recognition Scheme. Following negotiations with trade unions, the August 2020 increments for staff in Grades F, G and H were also suspended. We are very appreciative of the cooperation of trade unions and individual members of staff in Grades F, G and H who have had to forego the increment they were expecting.

We committed to a mid-year review of these arrangements and we wrote to you on 1 March (see below) to advise you that one of the outcomes of this review was that increments would be reinstated for staff in Grades F, G and H from 1 January 2021 (alongside reinstating the Above and Beyond Recognition Scheme and opening the academic promotions process in the Spring Term 2021.) At that stage it was not possible to backdate the increments further because of the financial impact of the third lockdown announced at the beginning of January.

We are pleased to advise you that, now that provisional information on the University’s financial outturn for the 2020/21 financial year is available, we are in a position to backdate fully the suspended increments to 1 August 2020. If you are one of the members of staff in Grades F, G and H whose progression increment was suspended in August last year, the backdated pay (for the period 1 August to 31 December 2020) will be paid to you with your salary in the July 2021 payrun.

The financial impact of the pandemic will continue to be felt by the University for a number of years to come, so there is a continued need to ensure that all our expenditure is justified and to look for ongoing efficiencies and savings. We value the contribution which every member of the University has made over the last 16 months to help the University navigate through these challenges and we are grateful for your ongoing support and cooperation.

Yours faithfully

Janice Kay                  Mike Shore-Nye
Provost                       Registrar and Secretary

 

‌‌Message from the Provost and Registrar, 1 March 2021

Dear colleagues

We wrote to you on 1 February to give you an update of the review of the suspended reward procedures which had been agreed with trade unions last July. We advised you that, while the University’s finances were better at the end of the autumn term than we anticipated in June/July 2020, the latest lockdown had introduced significant uncertainty and additional financial impact. Recognising this, we had agreed to conduct a further review with trade unions at the end of February. Following a series of meetings with trade unions last month, we are pleased to advise you that the following outcomes have been agreed with all of the campus trade unions:

  • Increments for eligible staff in Grades F, G and H, suspended under the July 2020 collective agreement, will be reinstated from 1 January 2021. These increments will be paid, with arrears, in the March 2021 payrun.
  • The Above & Beyond recognition scheme will be reinstated with a reduced budget. Further details of how this will operate for the remainder of this year will be communicated to managers shortly.

We hope that these measures go some way towards recognising the huge efforts colleagues across the University have made to support our student community and the University’s response to the pandemic during 2020/21.

In our earlier message, we announced that the application process for promotion to Associate Professor and Professor would be re-opened this term and you can read details of this online. This process will be supported by the principles and actions set out in our statement on Adjusting for the Differential Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic. We will also be making arrangements for a full review of Professorial salaries in the autumn term 2021.

We would like to thank representatives of UCU, Unite and Unison for their constructive engagement with the University during this review.

As you will be aware from earlier messages, the savings in staff costs delivered through the July 2020 collective agreement were only one part of the actions which the University has taken to reduce its expenditure since the beginning of the pandemic nearly a year ago. Action has been taken to reduce non-pay expenditure and spending on capital projects has also been significantly reduced. At the same time there have been unavoidable additional costs arising from Project Restart, Project Enhance and Project Experience to ensure that we have been able to continue to provide a high quality learning experience to our students this year and maintain a safe learning and working environment for the whole University community. As lockdown restrictions begin to be eased, these challenges remain. We want to reassure you that we will continue to carefully review all expenditure in the months ahead to ensure that the University emerges from this challenging period in a strong and sustainable way. We are very grateful for the contribution which all of you have made to the progress we have made so far.

Yours faithfully

Professor Janice Kay, Provost

Mike Shore-Nye, Registrar and Secretary

‌‌Message from the Provost and Registrar, 1 February 2021

Dear colleagues

We wrote to you on 27 July 2020 (see below) advising you of a collective agreement between the University and trade unions to support the actions the University was taking to reduce expenditure in the 2020/21 financial year. The agreement suspended the following reward procedures in 2020/21.

  • August 2020 progression increments for staff in Grades F, G and H
  • academic promotions to Associate Professor and Professor
  • 2020 Professorial Salary Review
  • 2020 performance increments
  • the Above and Beyond recognition scheme 

Overall these measures have helped to save more than £5m, which has made a vitally important contribution to the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside these savings, we have also reduced expenditure in many other, non-pay areas and have reduced our capital spending. The University’s leadership team have also agreed to accept a reduction in its reward arrangements this year. We will continue to seek to contain expenditure across all our activities as we face the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

As part of the collective agreement the University made a commitment to review these measures in January 2021, when we expected the financial impact of the pandemic to be clearer.

We have had three very constructive meetings with trade unions this month to review the University’s current financial position and consider whether it is possible to release any of these measures at this time. As the Chief Financial Officer explained in his recent all-staff talk, while the University’s finances were better at the end of the autumn term than we anticipated in June/July 2020, the lockdown announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January 2021 has introduced significant uncertainty and additional financial impact. The recent Government announcement that the current restrictions on education activities will remain in place until 8 March at the earliest will add to this uncertainty.

Taking account of this, we have proposed to trade union representatives that reward procedures which would have a financial impact in 2020/21 should remain suspended, pending a further review at the end of February, when we hope that the additional financial impact of the current lockdown will be clearer.

We are pleased to advise you that academic promotions to Associate Professor and Professor will be re-opened this term. Any promotions agreed through this process will be implemented from 1 August 2021. To support the academic promotions process, we are now putting additional support in place for academic colleagues and academic leaders as set out in the Adjusting for the Differential Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic principles and action plan which we recently communicated to you. We will write to academic colleagues in a few weeks with details of the application process and timeline. Many colleagues have been in touch asking for academic promotions to be re-opened and we hope that this step will be welcomed.

We appreciate that deferring the review of the other suspended procedures until the end of February will be a disappointment to many colleagues. Please be reassured that we are taking account of the constructive comments which trade union representatives have made to us. We understand that the trade unions’ priorities are for the reinstatement of the suspended increments and that some members have also asked for the reinstatement of the Above and Beyond reward scheme.

At this time however, the following measures will remain suspended until the further review at the end of February.

  • August 2020 progression increments for staff in Grades F, G and H
  • 2020 Professorial Salary Review
  • 2020 performance increments
  • the Above and Beyond recognition scheme 

The University will continue to prioritise protecting jobs and will seek to avoid as far as possible the need to make compulsory redundancies, including extending the commitments regarding redundancies set out in the July 2020 agreement.

We understand that the three campus trade unions will be consulting their members. If you are a member of UCU, Unison or Unite we encourage you to participate in these consultations. We would like to thank representatives of UCU, Unite and Unison for their constructive engagement with the University during this review and look forward to working with them in the review at the end of February.

In closing, we want to reassure you again that we recognise the great efforts which colleagues across the University have made to support our student community and the University through this challenging period and we understand the impact which the suspended reward measures will be having on you. We remain very grateful for colleagues’ contribution to the University’s response to the pandemic and we will contact you again in March once the February review has been completed.

Yours faithfully

Professor Janice Kay, Provost 

Mike Shore-Nye, Registrar and Secretary

Text of collective agreement

July 2020 UCU statement

Dear colleagues,

In our message of Friday 17 July, we summarised the discussions we have been holding with Trade Union representatives about the savings which are necessary to, as far as possible, avoid compulsory redundancies in the year ahead. We explained that, because the University participates in collective negotiations, it is necessary to seek a collective agreement with Trade Unions on these proposals and that colleagues who are members of a Trade Union would be consulted on the measures proposed.

We have now received notification from the three campus Trade Unions that, following their member consultation, they have agreed to the proposal made by the University, which follows several weeks of negotiations. If you are directly affected by these changes, you will receive a further communication from Human Resources shortly.

As we mentioned in our earlier message, in January 2021, once the full impact of 2020/21 student recruitment is known and there is more information on the financial position, the University will review with Trade Unions whether arrangements can be made to compensate staff whose normal incremental progression has been suspended, with priority being given to staff in Grade F.

We would like to thank representatives of UCU, Unite and Unison for their constructive engagement with the University during this challenging period, and to their members for supporting this important measure. We look forward to working further with them in the coming weeks.

Yours faithfully

Professor Janice Kay, Mike Shore-Nye

Provost Registrar and Secretary

Text of collective agreement‌‌

Dear Colleague,

Following on from the Vice Chancellor’s and Registrar’s recent talks we are keen to keep you up to date with how our savings plans will affect your pay and development. The Senior Management Group has been carefully considering steps which can be taken to manage budgets given the expected impact of Covid-19 on our finances. Due to our prudent financial management and the efforts of staff to find savings and efficiencies over recent years, we have so far been able to weather the financial storm better than many universities. However, the uncertainty over student recruitment this year and the possibility of a second wave of COVID cases means we need to do all we can to reduce costs further to reduce financial risks.

Colleagues have made great efforts to reduce non-pay costs, but we also need to look at reducing our pay costs, which are around 54% of our expenditure. As you will know, we are seeking as far as possible to avoid compulsory redundancies.

We have been in constructive discussions about reducing costs with our campus Trade Unions since May. We have shared information as we have had it with the wider University community through the Vice-Chancellor’s and Registrar’s talks and our email newsletters. We recognise and thank colleagues for your ongoing commitment and hard work in some very challenging circumstances.

We are continuing to consult with trade unions on the following areas and those of you who are members may be asked for your view on these changes.

Increments

Changes to increments are one of the areas being considered. In keeping with our principle to protect the lowest paid, if you are in Grades B, C, D and E and you are eligible for an increment in August 2020, then you will be paid it. This benefits around 1,900 colleagues, and the inclusion of E Grade colleagues is in response to Trade Union requests. Increments for staff in Grades F to H will be deferred from August 2020 to August 2021 and there will be no performance increments made in 2020. This will save over £2m in 2020/21 and, based on the average cost of each member of staff, protect over 50 jobs.
In January 2021, once the full impact of 2020/21 student recruitment is known and there is more information on the financial position after the end of the autumn term, the University will review with Trade Unions what arrangements, if any, can be made to compensate staff in Grades F to H. At this stage, however, our expectation is that the normal increment process would resume in August 2021.

Above & Beyond

The decision to agree to the Trade Unions’ request to continue to pay increments to eligible staff in Grade E means that we have to identify alternative savings to cover this expenditure. After carefully considering the options, we have decided that there will be no budget for Above and Beyond in 2020/21. However, the portal will remain open to send ‘Thank You’ messages so we can show colleagues our appreciation through the challenging year ahead, and for you to spend any vouchers which have been awarded to you. The January 2021 review of the University’s finances, referred to above, will also assess whether Above & Beyond can be reinstated.

Academic promotions

We are committed to continuing to support the development of our early career academic staff, so will be continuing promotion arrangements for colleagues to progress to from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer and from Postdoctoral Research Associate to Research Fellow and from Research Fellow to Senior Research Fellow. However, we are proposing that we pause more senior academic promotion (to Associate Professor and Personal Chair) during 2020/21. Once we are aware of student numbers at the end of the autumn term, we will review this and decide whether to progress with the spring 2021 promotion cycle. In addition, to ensure our academic colleagues’ career development and applications for promotion are not adversely impacted due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, applications will continue to be considered against the relevant criteria in terms of the quality of work but allowances will be made in terms of the quantity of outputs with regard to individual circumstances for this round. This pause does not affect colleagues who applied for promotion in 2019/20 – their applications will be continue to be assessed.

Professorial Salary Review

A full Professorial Salary Review was scheduled to take place in 2020. We are proposing to postpone this until 2021. More information on this will be shared with Professors when decisions are made.

VCEG pay

In addition to deferring capital projects and implementing a recruitment freeze, the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group has accepted a reduction in the pay they would normally expect to receive in 2019/20 and in 2020/21.

Voluntarily reducing hours

In term one we will also promote an opportunity for colleagues to be able to voluntarily reduce their Full-Time Equivalent (FTE), or working hours, for a fixed period.

We have had a number of positive conversations with the Trade Unions and we welcome their contribution toward achieving savings in pay costs which can reduce, as far as possible given the uncertainty and challenging circumstances, the need to make compulsory redundancies. We appreciate that not all colleagues are members of a Trade Union but since the University participates in collective negotiations we are seeking a collective agreement with them on these points. If you are a member of a Trade Union, please take this opportunity to make your views known through your Union’s consultation arrangement.

Yours faithfully

Professor Janice Kay Mike Shore-Nye

Provost Registrar and Secretary

Does the suspension of August 2020 increments apply to staff whose appointment is externally funded?

Yes. The agreement with trade unions applies to all employees paid on Grades F, G and H, whatever their source of funding may be. This is necessary to ensure that the University treats all employees in these grades fairly and equally, irrespective of how their appointment is funded. Where this results in an underspend on the grant, it may be possible to use the funds to support the project – Research Finance will be assessing the implications for each grant.

What does the suspension of salary increments mean for my project? 

See Live portfolio guidance reflecting COVID-19 related issues

I am leaving the University before the end of the year: will I be paid if the January review decides to reinstate the increment from August 2020?

If the review in January 2021 decides that the suspended increments should be reinstated from August 2020, the University's standard arrangements for backdated pay awards will apply. Former staff should submit a claim to Human Resources within 12 months of the date of the agreement/decision.