An ambitious restructure of UK Research Councils, which has finished with them being merged into one organisation with a combined budget of £6 billion, has also resulted in landmark recognition for Prospect union.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) brings together the seven existing research councils, Innovate UK, and the newly created Research England (formerly a part of the HEFCE) into a single new organisation.
Prospect is now the main union with recognition for the 7500 staff working within the new organisation, which funds and supports science and technology ideas, officially opened on 1 April.
Staff working in the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) now fall under the remit of UKRI.
Prospect traditionally represented members in NERC, STFC, BBSRC and EPSRC.
The unification of these specialist agencies under one umbrella organisation presented an opportunity for a single recognition agreement. This will allow Prospect to represent the interests of employees across the whole of the new organisation.
Existing Prospect representatives Helen Snaith and George Ryall along with Prospect national officer Tony Bell started negotiations last April.
“This is a really positive first step for this newly created high profile organisation which has many ambitious aims. One of the best ways of ensuring that the organisation is able to deliver on these expectations is to listen to the workforce. Prospect is looking forward to building a productive relationship with UKRI going forward”, Bell said.
There are now at least five different pay structures within UKRI and with single recognition in place Prospect is in a position to start working towards a unified set of terms and conditions and equal pay.