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FE fights back - share

FE fights back

FE staff in England are getting a raw deal from their employers. Workloads have never been higher while average pay packets have shrunk and the latest kick in the teeth - this year's recommended 1% pay rise - has not even been implemented in over 40% of colleges. UCU's Sean Vernell has argued that national pay bargaining mechanisms are failing the sector.

Meanwhile the latest college accounts show 17 college principals earned over £200,000 in 2016/17 and over a third enjoyed a pay rise of 10% or more.

UCU has launched a 'second wave' of our campaign for better pay and better jobs in FE and many branches are now taking up issues like pay, workload and job security directly with your college management.

After they initially stated a refusal to enter negotiations over the pay claim, the Association of Colleges (AoC) has U-turned and confirmed that they will now receive the claim aimed at improving pay and conditions.

Making a difference:

Taking action:

  • UCU has called on members at Bath, Bradford, Croydon, Lambeth, New College Swindon, and Petroc Colleges to take two days strike action on 28 and 29 November; branches that came close (35% and above) should be re-balloted from 28 November to 19 December; and branches achieving below 35% should hold members' meetings to decide whether to re-ballot. 
  • In October 2018 members at Lambeth and Croydon colleges both backed taking industrial action under UCU's National Plus in FE initiative, smashing the 50% turnout requirement. The branches are seeking a 5% pay increase, with Lambeth also demanding that all teaching staff revert back to the pre-2014 contract, and Croydon the fractionalisation of hourly paid staff. UCU is now seeking further negotiations at botrh colleges, boosted by the strong mandate for action.
  • National lobby of parliament for FE England funding
    UCU held a joint national lobby of parliament in Westminster on 17 October 2018, to make the case for extra government funding to support fair pay and funding in FE. Visit our Facebook event page for more details.
  • members at Epping Forest College joined those in Tower Hamlets and Hackney taking strike action over pay; alongside colleagues from Redbridge and Sunderland colleges, Tower Hamlets and Hackney members had already taken strike action this year, having walked out in February and  again in March
  • staff at Kirklees College voted to take action over job cuts and contract changes.

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Please get in touch with your local UCU branch if you would like to get involved in campaigning for a better deal for staff.

'Pay us some respect' poster thumb Campaign materials

We also have a selection of campaign posters for you to put up around your workplace.


Corbyn backs our FE fightback

Once again Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has leant his support to our campaign for a better deal for further education staff. As reported in the TES, Corbyn has called for funds to pay staff a decent wage and vowed to ensure the sector is not forgotten in terms of government funding. He also wrote to UCU members at Capital City College Group, congratulating them on a significant victory in winning better contracts for casual staff and a one off payment of £500 for all.

How FE can support social justice, educational access, and lifelong education

As part of UCU's FE fights back campaign, we are continuing to highlight the wider value of further education (FE).

That's why UCU has jointly commissioned research on how FE can support social justice, educational access, and lifelong education with Education International, the global federation of teaching trade unions.

Professor Leesa Wheelahan, Professor Gavin Moodie and Dr. Annette Ford, researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada are conducting this research for us. The same research will be conducted in four countries - Australia, Côte D'Ivoire, Taiwan as well as England.

To help us make the case for FE, please fill in this short survey.

If you would like to be interviewed as part of the research, please contact Professor Leesa Wheelahan.

Last updated: 16 November 2018