News and campaigns

Birmingham University UNISON are engaged in campaigning and negotiating on a number of issues for staff. Please see some of our current campaigns below and you can also browse our previous campaigns archive for issues we have campaigned on in the past, or download our recent newsletters.

June 2015

Pay claim 2015

We have submitted a Joint Pay Claim with UNITE and GMB for 2015 to the University following the members meeting in February.

The Pay claim calls for:

  • A 5% Pay Rise for all staff
  • An additional increment point for band 100 (Currently there are no semi- automatic increments for band 100 staff)
  • For the University to become a Living Wage employer

It is clear that the University can afford to pay staff more, having had a  7% rise in income in the last year and awarding the Vice Chancellor a £32 000 bonus. Our strength is in numbers so please ask friends and colleagues to join UNISON!

Pay negotiations started on Tuesday 31st March and we will keep you updated.

Living Wage campaign

Currently, the university has agreed to pay the equivalent of the Living Wage each August, however, as the Living Wage is usually increased in November, this leaves the lowest paid staff being paid poverty pay during the crucial winter months.

We think it is morally wrong that a University with the size and reputation of Birmingham doesn't pay a living wage to staff. We will be shortly relaunching our campaign for the University to become an accredited Living Wage employer.

If you would like to get involved in organising or helping on this campaign please get in touch.

Sick Pay

Currently, sick pay is only paid for up to 6 months can be extended at the university's discretion, but in fact is only extended when someone is going to return to work shortly or are expected to die. We believe sick pay for support staff should be extended beyond 6 months in many different situations and we are currently discussing this with the University, as well as planning further campaigns to raise awareness of this.

September 2014

We have been negotiating on a wide range of issues over the last few months:

Acting Up - guidelines to be brought in

There are no guidelines in place at the moment on selecting staff to act up, secondment or other development opportunities. UNISON believes this is in breach of Equality and Human Rights commission guidelines and we welcome the University's recent decision to agree in principle to introduce guidelines in consultation with us

Car Parking Charges extended- UNISON ask for pause and protection for part time staff

The University recently extended car parking charges onto car parks on the North East of campus. The charges disproportionately affect the mainly low paid women workers who provide a fantastic nursery service for staff. The University have now agreed to an urgent meeting with us to discuss the issues.

PDR Payments to staff in HAS - a welcome increase but still not equal

Many staff in HAS (Hospitality and Accomodation services) recently received one off payments from the PDR scheme. This is a welcome improvement following many years when they received far fewer rewards then they should have done. Unfortunately the payments were less than the PDR policy states should be the case. We believe staff in HAS should be treated the same as staff elsewhere in the University and we are currently waiting for an explanation from the University.

Stress and Occupational Health

Guidelines agreed a few years ago on work related stress require everyone who phones in sick with stress to be referred to Occupational Health. This is for the benefit and protection of the individual member of staff. Unfortunately UNISON became aware that in some cases this was not happening or was being unreasonably delayed. After we brought this to the University attention they have agreed to overhaul their procedures to ensure everyone is referred.

If you are off with stress, depression or anxiety please get in touch with us- its never too soon to see if we can help in any way. Also see Support Services at the University that you can use

Exit Interviews

We believe that all good employers want to gain feedback from staff who leave to see how they can improve and establish if staff turnover is too high in some area's or an indication of other underlying problems. We have recently raised this as an issue and will be discussing exit interviews with the University again in October and November


After mass grievances were submitted earlier this we have agreed the following with the University:

  • A draft overtime has now been agreed. This will now go to a cleaners meeting for approval (or not) before being implemented. 
  • Unconscious bias training will be rolled out to cleaning staff to deal with some of the diversity issues raised
  • Revised PDR guidelines that make the scheme relevant to cleaner will also go to a cleaners meeting for approval
  • A new cleaners newsletter will be out soon

Library - UNISON ask for committment to no compulsory redundancy's and agreement on staffing levels

UNISON met Library management in July. We have asked for guarantee's that no staff will be made redundant and for an agreement on staffing levels. The Library management have not agreed to this but have given assurances their intention is to avoid redundancy's. UNISON will continue to push this forward as an urgent issue. For more information see the latest UNISON Library Newsletter or contact Michael Moore your UNISON Library steward.