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The Friday email: 17 December 2021

17 December 2021

Another kick in the teeth: 1% pay offer for college staff

UCU and other unions representing further education (FE) staff have condemned the latest derisory and below inflation pay offer from college employers of 1%. UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This Christmas, college employers have decided to gift staff yet another real terms pay cut. After holding the entire sector together during the pandemic, those who work in our colleges will rightly be furious at this offensive 1% pay offer.' Even the Association of Colleges (AoC) chief executive, David Hughes admitted the offer 'will feel like a kick in the teeth' for staff who have worked through the pandemic. He said 'a more meaningful' pay award might be possible next year. As you would expect, UCU will hold him to that and continue the fight for decent FE pay in 2022.

New guidance on Omicron for college and university staff

UCU has called for immediate action from employers to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant in all post-16 education settings. We've produced updated guidance on Omicron here and you can find our full range of resources here.

Reclaim our time: ASOS campaign 

Just a reminder as we near the end of term that members covered by the action short of striking (ASOS) ballot are still working to contract and not undertaking any voluntary activities. Go to the Reclaim Our Time pages on the website for more guidance and information. From 21 December members are asked not to reschedule any lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action. We are defining lectures or classes as any activity between any UCU member and a student or group of students which involves any instruction, tuition, communicating or sharing of knowledge, or guidance. We will issue detailed guidance on this and on further ASOS in the New Year. 

HE reballots: join the action, vote YES now

If you're at one of the university branches currently being reballoted to join the industrial action in 2022, please remember to vote now before the Christmas break. The ballot closes Friday 14 January but don't delay and risk postal delays. You can order a replacement here. Your vote is essential to increase the pressure on employers: the more staff that take part in this action, the better chance we have of settling our disputes on pensions, pay and conditions.

Northern Ireland FE pay and conditions campaign

Agreement has been reached with the employers for lecturers at colleges in Northern Ireland to receive two 2% pay increases for years 19/20 and 20/21. UCU previously rejected an offer of 7% payable over 4 years which came with a number of unacceptable strings attached in the form of regressive contractual change. This offer equates to 4% over two years with no preconditions. While this is a considerable improvement, there is still a long way to go to close the pay gap with schoolteachers and university lecturers. ASOS will remain in place but the trade unions have given a commitment not to escalate industrial action to allow fresh talks to commence in the New Year. Members will continue to work to their contract but no work will be done in excess of it. 

Casualised and working in FE: we need each other!

Ahead of our all-day meeting for staff on casual contracts in the spring, UCU's anti-casualisation committee (ACC) are hosting a short event on Thursday 13 January, 4.30pm - 6.00pm aimed at members in further education, adult and community education (ACE) and prisons. We'll look at examples of where casualisation has been successfully challenged and there'll be plenty of time to hear from you and what you would like to see change in your workplace and how our committee can support you. 

Agreement reached to end Havant and South Downs College dispute

UCU members at HSDC, along with colleagues in NEU, have now settled their trade dispute with college management. The college agreed to the demands of UCU to halt the redundancies in summer 2021. UCU and NEU engaged in negotiations with the college, which has led to an agreement to full disclosure of financial information, and improvements in college policies and procedures. 74.2% of UCU members supported the agreement in a ballot of members.

Last updated: 17 December 2021