Building a fairer future for all – increased annual leave and other commitments to you

A message to all staff from the Vice-Chancellor.

Future, staff, jobs, recognition, reward, diversity, recruitment

Dear colleagues,
I am writing to share with you a series of commitments which, aligned to our University values of collaboration, compassion, inclusivity and integrity, aim to improve conditions for colleagues and will help us build a fairer future for all. They will also provide a positive platform for future joint action and collaboration between the University and our three campus trades unions - UNISON, Unite and UCU.
We are disappointed that despite continued constructive discussions this week, UNISON have chosen to proceed with their five days of planned strike action from 20 June 2022. As a reminder, this action relates to the 2021/22 pay round. The nationally agreed pay award for 2022/23 is still being finalised and will be applied to all staff in August 2022 payroll.
Whilst we had hoped that they would withdraw from this strike action, we remain committed to working with UNISON - as well as Unite and UCU - positively, pragmatically and realistically to ensure that these commitments are implemented in a timely and collaborative way.    

Our commitments include: 

  • From October 2022, all staff will receive one additional day annual leave entitlement (pro rata) and our University closure days will extend to include the full day on Maundy Thursday. We will also prioritise a review of special leave arrangements.
  • Reviewing and improving our Employment terms - including our ongoing work on the use of fixed-term contracts, with other contract types to follow, as well as reviewing our pay and grading structures. We remain committed to supporting and contributing to the national approach to the annual pay review.
  • Recognising the impact on our community of increases in the cost of living. A one-off payment of £650 (not pro-rated) will be made in July 2022 to all staff in roles up to and including grade 6. This will be in addition to the 2022/23 nationally agreed pay award. Eligible staff can choose whether to receive this either in full as vouchers through our Recognition Awards Portal or as a cash payment through payroll (subject to normal tax and NI deductions). As part of our grading structure review, we will also consider whether further one-off payments may be appropriate to be made later in the year.  

We are also committed to reducing pay gaps, and effectively managing workloads and understanding their impact on health and wellbeing; we will say more about these soon.

These past few months have been challenging for us all, but I am convinced that we can only achieve our goals and be the University we can and want to be if we are a healthy, happy and fulfilled community. It is in all our interests to work towards achieving this, and I remain optimistic about the way forward from here.  

With best wishes,  

Simone Buitendijk  

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