An union has claimed the Universities and Colleges Employers Association is using “dodgy analysis” to justify holding down the pay of tens of thousands of university staff.

Employer body UCEA released on Wednesday, May 3, a piece of analysis claiming that the financial performance of some universities means there is no chance of an improved pay offer for university staff, based on new data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

The University and College Union (UCU) slammed it as an attempt to undermine confidence in the industrial action taking place in universities.

University workers at 145 UK universities are currently engaged in a marking and assessment boycott and are demanding an improved pay and conditions offer from employers.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “This analysis from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association is a blatant attempt to use the performance of some of our more financially challenged institutions as justification for holding pay down right across the sector.

“Last month, UCEA led the charge calling on universities to make massive wage deductions for staff taking part in a marking and assessment boycott.

“This month, it is using dodgy analysis to undermine workers’ confidence in their struggle.

“Shameful doesn’t even cover it.”

This comes after the UCU issued a plea backed by over 50 MPs and Lords to save their members amidst the threat of a pay cut.

The UCU has claimed that staff are at risk of a 50 to 100 per cent pay cut if they take part in the planned marking and assessment boycott.

A letter to UCEA‘s chief executive Raj Jethwa was signed by 51 cross-party members of both chambers, including Nottingham South’s Nadia Whittome.

A spokesperson for UCEA said: “UCU’s carbon copy letter for MPs does not contain the facts; that pay deduction for partial performance are fair measures in place to counter targeting students with industrial action that could affect some students for the rest of their lives.”

Mr Jethwa added: “This data emphasises the need for UCU to be honest with its members about the fact that there is no possibility of new or revised pay offers in the 2023-24 pay round.”