National agreements and legal rights

Extract from: Organising part-time and hourly-paid lecturers - A further education toolkit

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Organising part-time and hourly-paid lecturers - An FE toolkit

National agreements

In further education, the national employers organisation (the Association of Colleges) has signed up two key documents:

UCU branches should ensure their employers implement the national agreements by negotiating a local agreement based on it. To this end, UCU has produced a set of guidance notes to assist negotiators.

FE Modernising Pay Agreement

The Modernising Pay Agreement between the unions and the AoC for the 2003-05 pay period contained a number of elements which if implemented will benefit part-time members.

Central to the agreement is the new eight-point harmonised pay spine which is designed to allow for automatic progression for lecturers through main grade points from 23 to 37 (with even points skipped). When negotiating implementation of the harmonised pay spine you should ensure that these automatic progression provisions apply to part-time and hourly-paid employees in the same way they do to full-timers. The main argument to use in support of automatic progression for hourly-paid and part-time staff, other than the moral one, is their legal right not to be treated less favourably than their full-time counterparts. Colleges that apply different rules for the progression of part-time and hourly-paid staff risk breaching the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 and the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.

The Modernising Pay Agreement also included a Joint Agreement on Guidelines for Implementation of the Further Education Job Evaluation scheme. Most colleges and branches have chosen not to embark on the job evaluation process at this stage. However it may be useful to argue for it as a counter to management arguments that part-time and hourly-paid staff perform different duties and are therefore not entitled to the same pay and conditions. A job evaluation exercise will expose this to be untrue if it, as it often is, not the case. Most colleges will not want to conduct a time-consuming job evaluation process and may be prepared to give some ground on part-time and hourly-paid staff rights to avoid this. Job evaluation is also the best way to expose other equality issues in the employment practices and therefore make other gains in equality areas that disproportionately affect part-time and hourly-paid staff.

UCU has also prepared text for a simple leaflet for part-time lecturers in further education setting out their rights in the law and through the national agreement (see Toolkit Appendix 7, Part-time staff in FE: Your rights).

Last updated: 6 January 2016