Website URL : http://www.ucu.org.uk/1935||
FE pay in England
In England the vast majority of colleges are members of the Association of Colleges (AoC), an employers' organisation which negotiates with UCU and other recognised trade unions (UNISON, ATL, AMiE, Unite and GMB) in the National Joint Forum (NJF) to produce recommendations on pay and conditions for individual colleges to adopt.
Strike: 10 November 2015
The AoC's decision to recommend a pay freeze in response to our claim is unprecedented. For the last six years your take home pay has been declining in value every year. That means less money in real terms for you and your families. A pay freeze will make this worse!
The recent ballot for strike action resulted in a 'yes' vote after the AoC recommendation. UCU's FE committee met on 17 October and agreed that members in those branches who are part of the dispute should take strike action on Tuesday 10 November 2015.
Packed rallies took place in Birmingham and London which was addressed by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and shadow FE minister Gordon Marsden. Read Sally's piece in the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) blog here.
It should be noted that some branches are not part of the dispute against the AoC's recommendation of a pay freeze. With national UCU's agreement some branches have adopted a parallel process of submitting the national pay claim to their college along with additional claims to address members' concerns and local circumstances.
For example, sometimes there has been no pay award in recent years or the problem is not just about the % increase but difficulties with the scale point members are being paid on.
There have been a number of successes where this strategy has resulted in agreements which have produced gains for members. Read more in FE news 62, Oct 15 (.pdf) [103kb].
The result of the industrial action ballot which opened on 28 September and closed on 15 October, is as follows:
Summer 2015: Colleges in England were written to over the summer and asked to confirm that they would meet our 2015-16 claim of an increase in pay of £1 per working hour for staff at all points. They were given until noon 11 September to confirm that they would meet our claim. Colleges that did not agree to meet our pay claim then received notice that UCU would be balloting its members on taking strike action over a failure to agree a pay increase for 2015/16.
June 2015: The National Joint Forum met for the final round of the 2015/16 pay talks on 24 June. At the end of the talks Association of Colleges representatives stated they intended advising colleges to make no pay award for 2015/16. Negotiators expressed dismay at the AoC's approach and failure to provide positive leadership for the sector.
May 2015: The first meeting of the National Joint Forum to discuss the joint trade unions pay and conditions claim for 2015 was held in London on 13 May 2015. The joint trade unions formally presented their claim
There was discussion on the current FE funding context, and the employers's body said they would be holding further consultations with their members on the claim and anticipated they would be able to provide a clear position at the next meeting on 10 June.
2015-16 joint union claim submitted
March 2015: The joint trade unions submitted a claim for 2015-16 to the college employers. The headline claim is for:
Read the full claim: Joint union FE England claim 2014-15, Mar 15 (.pdf) [333kb]