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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, ACM, T&G and GMB) in the National Joint Forum (NJF) to produce recommendations on pay and conditions for individual colleges to adopt.

Strike: 14 October 2014

UCU's Further Education Committee met on Friday 12 September to consider the results of the FE England member e-consultation on the 2014/15 final pay offer, in which 85% of members who participated voted to reject the 1% offer. FEC noted that the 2013/14 claim continued to be unresolved and therefore supported further strike action to secure an improved offer in continuance of our ongoing 2013/14 dispute.

FEC members received reports from UCU officials which included industrial and political advice on issues surrounding the options for taking industrial action and the legality of action. Following significant discussion regarding the level of turnout in the member consultation and of all available options, FEC voted in favour of calling on FE members in England to take strike action on 14 October 2014 in further pursuit of UCU's 2013/14 pay claim.

Read the full report in  (.pdf) file type icon FE news, no.53, Sep 14 (.pdf) [243kb].

See also: UCU members in English colleges to strike on 14 October

Pay consultation closes

Important : ImportantThe online consultation opened on 1 September and closed at 12 noon on Wednesday 10 September. The results have been passed to the Further Education Committee for further discussion and members will be updated as soon as possible.

Member consultation over pay offer

Following the third and final meeting with the employers, FEC met on 27 June to consider the offer and made the following decisions on pay:

  • to consult all UCU FE England members over the AoC's full and final offer
  • RECOMMENDS MEMBERS to REJECT the offer and provide this briefing note including a full explanation of the consequences of voting to accept or reject
  • call branch meetings on the pay offer accompanying the member consultation period
  • set out a credible strategy for further national strike action commencing in autumn
  • if possible to coordinate this action alongside other unions like the NUT, Unison and others
  • to prioritise the TUC demonstration on 'Britain needs a pay rise' on 18 October, and to actively encourage all members to attend.

Why should members vote to reject the offer?

In the last five years FE pay has fallen behind inflation by 16%, a real terms pay cut of over £5,500 per year for most lecturers. At 1% this year's offer does nothing to address the years of cuts, it simply adds to the problem. It is below inflation so it is yet another cut in real pay for staff in FE. 1% is the thanks shown to staff exhausted by endless rounds of redundancies and restructures and straining under increased workloads. In contrast, Principals received increases on average three times the size of those they offered their staff in the last four years.

Now is not the time to accept another pay cut. There is the prospect that we could join with school teachers and other government workers who are building for coordinated action in the autumn. It has been announced that council workers are to strike on 14 October. They may be joined by other public sector workers. If members vote to reject then it is likely that the Further Education Committee will vote for a national strike on that day.


  • UCU will reject the AoC's final offer of 1% and remain in dispute with English colleges on pay
  • you will be called upon to take part in an escalating programme of strikes at a national level co-ordinated with other public sector and targeted strike action within a national framework


  • UCU will accept the AoC's final offer of 1% and the union will no longer be in dispute with English colleges on pay.


Defend pay, defend education. UCU recommends REJECT the 1% pay offer and campaign for more

At the third and final meeting of the National Joint Forum for the 2014/15 pay talks, the Association of Colleges made a revised full and final offer to the Joint FE Trade Unions on 18 June. A previous offer of 0.7% was rejected by all the unions at a meeting in May.

The final offer:

  • deletion of the bottom scale point 4
  • 2% increase in scale point 5 to bring it up to the living wage £7.65
  • 1% increase on all points above point 5.

Our claim was for a £1048 flat rate increase or 3% for our members, whichever is the higher. In response to the joint trade union's claim for safeguarding (protection of wages for staff negatively affected by a change of role through restructuring) for three years, the AoC considered this too restrictive for colleges. It was suggested that NJF officers meet to scope a joint working group on this.

UCU rejects 0.7% pay offer

UCU has rejected a 0.7% pay offer and told England's college bosses to come back to the negotiating table with an offer that addresses members' falling pay over recent years.

Unions met with the colleges' representative, the Association of Colleges (AoC),on Friday to try and thrash out a deal. Further education staff have seen their pay fall by 16% in real terms since 2009 and must now also meet higher monthly pension contributions.

Read the full story here

Lobby of employers at 16 May pay meeting

Members joined a national lobby of the employers' body, the Association of Colleges (AoC) as they met the unions for pay talks on 16 May.

Join the campaign online by tweeting photos of yourself and colleagues with our poster. Use the hashtag #FairpayinFE - and include the AoC Twitter handle: @AoC_info

No offer made at opening pay talks

The 2014-15 pay talks opened on 8 April 2014 at a meeting of the National Joint Forum (NJF) where the trade union side  (.doc) file type icon presented their claim (.doc) [40kb]  of:

  • 3% or £1040 whichever is the greater
  • a recommendation to colleges to become Living Wage employers
  • pay protection for a minimum of three years in line with school teachers (in restructures and re-grading etc).

Disappointingly, the Association of Colleges (AoC) insisted they were unable to make an offer on the day. However, they gave a commitment that they would bring an offer that was 'without strings attached' to the next meeting of the NJF on 16 May. The AoC also said they were sympathetic to the call for a Living Wage but need to consult further with their members.

Read more in  (.pdf) file type icon FE News 49 (.pdf) [233kb].

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