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Respect FE

UCU's new strategy for FE in England

14 February 2022

UCU has a new strategy for further education (FE) in England.

UCU's further education committee (FEC) officers have regularly met over recent months to develop the new strategy which is unanimously endorsed by FEC.

FE bargaining in England doesn't work the way we want it to. UCU wants meaningful and binding national bargaining. That is not what we have and why we have developed a strategy to fix it.

The UK government has announced the biggest increase in FE base line (16-19 - 8.4%) funding in more than a decade which sits on top of the £240 million increase in baseline funding announced in 2018. All of this money is available to be spent on staff pay.

This year we know there is much more money 'in the pot' and that is why I am writing to you to ask you to support UCU's new strategy.

For more than a decade, FE England staff have suffered below inflation pay rises. Since 2009 the Association of Colleges recommended pay increases are more than 35% behind inflation.

We are currently working with other unions in FE England to finalise our claim for 2022/23.

One thing I can tell you is that our pay claim for 2022/23 will be for a 10% increase. Inflation (RPI) is currently above 7% and we must seek and increase in FE pay that keeps up with inflation and has some catch up from the more than 35% pay cut you have suffered.

I know that pay is not the only issue that affects you and your work, we are also developing a charter on professional respect at work which includes issues on workload.

I want to let you know that UCU will be asking you to indicate support of our claim in a consultative ballot of members starting on 7 March 2022.

In the coming weeks I will update you further on the progress of UCU's new strategy in FE England and how you can be involved.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Last updated: 10 March 2022