TWO MORE universities are giving staff enhanced pay awards in breach of national pay bargaining.
Central Lancashire and De Montfort universities have imposed interim pay awards of 3 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.
The national offer from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association is 1.5 per cent for academic and academic-related staff and 2.5 per cent for manual staff. Higher education unions have rejected the offers and are threatening to strike.
Four other universities - Kingston, Derby, Central England and Hertfordshire - have already offered or imposed pay increases above the UCEA offers. Local branches have rejected all enhanced offers in line with national union guidelines.
A letter to De Montfort staff from vice chancellor Kenneth Barker said the university was not prepared to wait for the outcome of national negotiations, and that the 1.5 per cent offered to academics was unreasonable.
Pro-vice chancellor Michael Brown said: "The UCEA is in disarray and we do not believe our staff should suffer financially as a result of action taken elsewhere."
Professor Brown said that the 2.9 per cent settlement was made without prejudice to the university's participating in next year's national negotiations or to any future higher settlement this year.
Lecturing unions want to preserve national pay bargaining. Christine Cheesman, chief executive of the Association of University and College Lecturers, said: "Individual institutions have been forced to break ranks and improve on the national offer. Perhaps now even the dead hand of the UCEA will be revived to restart national negotiations on a sensible basis."