London Weighting

SOAS UNISON is campaigning for a fair deal at SOAS on London Weighting, the allowance paid to staff working in London.

SOAS London Weighting (LW) was frozen at £2,134 from 1992 until a joint trade union campaign required SOAS to address the issue in 2014.

In summary, the Joint Trade Union claim in 2014 was for

  • An immediate uplift in London Weighting to £4000.
  • An agreed method of annually uprating the London Weighting supplement. As a minimum this should increase by the higher figure of either the nationally agreed annual percentage pay rise or the annual average RPI figure (as calculated from August to July of the preceding year). The uprated amount would be payable from 1 August annually.

Our initial claim in 2014 argued that an increase in London Weighting was vital in order to allow staff to continue to live and work in London. The original claim included information on the increasing costs faced by staff, LW rates in comparable institutions and across the public sector, as well as the loss suffered by staff as a result of the freeze in order to demonstrate that our claim of £4,000 was just and reasonable.

After a series of negotiation meetings, in response, SOAS made a final offer that would see LW rise in stages (£2,406 from 1/8/2014; £2,680 from 1/8/2015; £2,953 from 1/8/2016; £3,227 from 1/8/2017) to £3,500 from 1 August 2018.

SOAS UNISON members voted to reject the offer as inadequate and failing to address key concerns over a rising cost of living, (92% voted to reject on a 54% turnout), however, it was subsequently imposed by the School.

UNISON asserts that these arguments for increasing London Weighting are as relevant now as in 2014, and that the subsequent uplift to £3500, whilst going some way towards addressing the rise of costs of living, has not resolved the key issue. UNISON members, particularly those of the lower grades, have seen rising costs in housing, transportation, childcare, and sustenance, which exceed the initial uplifts.