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, ACM, T&G and GMB) in the National Joint Forum (NJF) to produce recommendations on pay and conditions for individual colleges to adopt.
Strike action called for 3 December
Members working in FE in England are asked to take a day of strike action on 3 December. This is also the day a second strike has been called in HE branches.
UCU wrote to the AoC on 27 November stating our willingness to enter dispute resolution talks, but with the employers having failed to take up every opportunity to this point the union also confirmed that UCU members will join their HE colleagues by walking out on 3 December..
UCU FE members vote for action
UCU's national ballot for industrial action in further education in England closed at noon on 18 November.
The response to the question balloted on is as follows:
Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?
Number of ballot papers returned: 6,510
The union's further education officers will discuss the result and the next steps tomorrow, Tuesday 19 November.
UCU's Further Education Committee called the ballot on taking industrial action over the employers' pay offer of 0.7%, which is made against a backdrop of cost of living increases of 17.5%.
Successive below-inflation offers means FE staff have suffered a real-terms pay cut of 15% over the last four years. The decision to ballot came after feedback from branch meetings held across the country called to discuss the offer during which members were recommended to support rejection (.pdf) [144kb] of the offer.
Members in further education are asked to
Final pay offer for England FE
A third national negotiating meeting took place between the AOC and the six college unions on 25 June 2013 where employers made a final recommended offer of a 0.7% pay increase from August this year, with a £282 increase for those earning equivalent to £14,052.
You may recall that talks had broken down at the previous meeting when the employers withdrew a 0.5% offer in response to the trade unions* refusing to agree to a statement that included the commitment at a local level to 'open and positive discussion regarding approaches to incremental pay, flexibility and working practices'. (See Risk of dispute in colleges after 0.5% pay offer withdrawn.)
Lengthy discussions at officer level followed this meeting which led to a revised statement with more general wording similar to that accompanying previous offers, and importantly, with the explicit reference to incremental pay and working practices removed. The trade union side therefore agreed to take back the offer below to its relevant committees and membership for consideration.
'This recommendation is made on the basis that both sides remain aware that Colleges continue to face major challenges arising from the stringent funding circumstances across Further Education and that implementation of the recommended pay award will be based on affordability at each individual College.
There is a joint understanding that a priority for Colleges is to maintain employment to sustain and continuously improve services to learners, employers and communities. Therefore both sides recognise there is a need for positive engagement in local discussions regarding the need for all staff to be responsive and proactive in an ever changing environment. This includes open and positive discussions on new approaches to deliver efficiencies and flexibility, where these are proposed.
On the basis of the above, we are recommending:
Payable from 1 August 2013.
This increases the recommended minimum hourly rate to £7.45 in recognition of the UK Living Wage.
This recommended pay award is made on the condition that the joint trade unions agree to consult meaningfully with their members with a positive recommendation.'
UCU's Further Education Committee (FEC) met on Friday 28 June to consider the offer. Members of the committee were unanimous in the view that the offer of 0.7% in response to our claim for a 5% increase was unacceptable in the context of inflation running at over 2% and the ever increasing levels of workload faced by members because of the tightening and/or worsening of conditions of service at a local level.
FEC was mindful of the policy passed at annual sector conference in May which stated that in the event of an unsatisfactory offer, a ballot for national strike action should be held as early in October as possible. The committee supports this conference policy and is recommending that members reject the offer and the union organise a ballot for industrial action. FEC was very clear that to achieve any chance of an improved offer requires a very significant level of industrial action. It was therefore important that members are first fully consulted both on the offer and their willingness to take industrial action.
* UCU, Unison, GMB, Unite and ATL
FE unions submit Joint 2013-14 pay claim
The further education unions submitted their joint 2013 - 14 pay claim to the Association of Colleges at a meeting of officers of the National Joint Forum (NJF) on 30 January 2013.
The claim focuses on pay calling for:
This year's claim was submitted more than two and a half months earlier than in recent years and in line with this the unions have made clear their expectation that the timetable for negotiations be similarly brought forward: