National Framework Agreement
What is the National Framework Agreement?
In 1999, a report (the Bett report: Independent Review of Higher Education Terms and Conditions) was published which uncovered a number of anomalies in the pay, terms and conditions between different staff groups within Higher Education (HE). In response to this, the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA) and all trade unions recognised by the HE sector negotiated the National Framework Agreement for the Modernation of Pay Structures (NFA) with agreement reached in May 2004 with a view to reforming pay structures, grades and some terms and conditions across the sector. In order to accept the NFA, the AUT (the union for Academic and Academic Related staff) negotiated an additional document called The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Certain aspects of the NFA are national agreements, which all Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) have to implement and others are for local negotiation at Birkbeck with our recognised trade unions. One of the main provisions of the NFA is the introduction of a 51-point single pay spine, to which all staff will be assigned. There is also a requirement to introduce an analytical job evaluation scheme across the College.
Single Pay Spine
One of the main provisions of the NFA was the introduction of a national 51-point single pay spine to which all staff are assigned.
How this spine is split into grade bands was for Birkbeck to agree with the trade unions. There will continue to be national-level negotiations between UCEA and the trade unions to agree the annual cost of living pay rise; any agreement will then be applied to the single pay spine points.
Other provisions of the National Framework Agreement
As well as the single pay spine, the NFA sets out a number of other principles:
- Job evaluation: all HEIs must introduce an analytical job evaluation scheme, which assesses the relative ‘size’ of jobs in order to place them in rank order, and assign them to the new pay structure.
- Harmonisation of hours: HEIs are required to consider harmonising the hours of work for jobs that are rated as equivalent in value under the job evaluation scheme.
- Pay progression: all HEIs need to negotiate how staff will progress within and between grades.
There are various pay and grading models available for universities to use as a starting point for developing their own suitable structures; the College is exploring many of these models using Link pay modelling software. This exercise will mean additional costs to the College, yet there is limited additional funding to meet the cost of implementing the NFA. Therefore, the College will need to balance improved benefits to staff pay with what the College can reasonably afford.