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Respect FE: general secretary's update for further education members

14 July 2023

This week marks a historic turning point for our industrial struggle in further education. For far too long, college employers have denied you basic professional respect, fair pay, and reasonable workloads.

That's why we have put college employers on notice, declaring disputes with 88 of them across England. In the face of a spiraling cost-of-living crisis and after years of salaries falling behind inflation, the very least you deserve is a realistic, fair pay rise. It's simple: any college that doesn't cough up and make a fair offer over the next two months will be included in our biggest-ever FE strike ballot in England.

The clock is ticking, and in light of the gigantic £470 million funding boost just announced by the Department for Education, there are simply no excuses for employers failing to dramatically improve their pay offers. They must also agree to national action on workloads.

We are now able to present college leaders with a clear choice: make us a serious offer or be hit with massive industrial action in the autumn. It's so important to remember that we don't have this leverage by accident. We have it because of your determination and hard work in building branches and organising with your colleagues - often facing down intimidation from management in the process.

Ultimately, employers are doing deep damage to our colleges by refusing to pay you fairly. Staff are the backbone of further education, so the system can only flourish and enrich society as it should when you are afforded some basic respect.

The whole union is behind you. Together, we can win this.

As ever, you can find the latest on the Respect FE campaign here.

In solidarity

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Last updated: 14 July 2023