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Institute for Learning to face teacher boycott

24 June 2011

In a referendum announced on Friday 24 June over two-thirds (70%) of UCU members who voted rejected plans that would have left them with a £38 annual bill for membership of the Institute for Learning (IfL). Union members will now be balloted on a collective boycott of the IfL.

Membership of the organisation is compulsory for teachers in adult and further education, but up until this year the fee was picked up by the government. The union said that the result shows that the IfL has a massive credibility problem within the sector.
The overwhelming view of members who contacted the union during the ballot is that the IfL does little if anything to support their professional development and that, for the majority, any charge would be too much.
Given that the General Teaching Council, a similar body for teachers, has been axed by government, UCU says its members do not understand why membership of the IfL remains compulsory in further and adult education.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It should always be for UCU members themselves to decide the union's next steps and today's ballot has delivered a powerful message both to the IfL and its government sponsor.
'I am grateful to John Hayes, the further education minister, for his genuine attempts to resolve the dispute and to UCU's negotiators for their tireless efforts to win concessions.
'There is little doubt that the failure of college employers to offer any contribution towards the fees was a factor in the ballot result. However, the underlying problem, as my postbag makes clear, is that the IfL organisation is simply not seen as credible by staff. To be effective a professional body must enjoy the confidence of the majority of practitioners. This is something the IfL in its current form simply does not have.
'There will now be an industrial action ballot of UCU members on a collective boycott of the IfL, and I have little doubt this will receive strong support from staff.  I will of course be contacting government to ask for immediate talks in the light of the overwhelming ballot result.'
Full details of referendum result
Number voting Yes : 3,297 (29.51% of valid vote)
Number voting No: 7,877 (70.49% of valid vote)
Last updated: 11 December 2015