All out for USS

It's not too late! Universities UK can still commit to meaningful negotiations over pensions and end the strike action.

FE England: 2015-16 pay round

Information on the 2015-16 pay round for English colleges.

March 2015 - 2015-16 joint union claim submitted: The joint trade unions submitted a claim for 2015-16 to the college employers. The headline claim is for:

  • a claim for a £1 per hour increase
  • a claim for the Living Wage
  • a code of practice for dealing with workload
  • a review of the annual implementation date.

Read the full claim: Joint union FE England claim 2014-15, Mar 15 [333kb]

May 2015: The first meeting of the National Joint Forum to discuss the joint trade unions pay and conditions claim for 2015 was held in London on 13 May 2015. The joint trade unions formally presented their claim

There was discussion on the current FE funding context, and the employers's body said they would be holding further consultations with their members on the claim and anticipated they would be able to provide a clear position at the next meeting on 10 June.

June 2015: The National Joint Forum met for the final round of the 2015/16 pay talks on 24 June. At the end of the talks Association of Colleges representatives stated they intended advising colleges to make no pay award for 2015/16. Negotiators expressed dismay at the AoC's approach and failure to provide positive leadership for the sector. The AoC's decision to recommend a pay freeze in response to our claim is unprecedented. For the last six years take home pay has been declining in value every year which means less money in real terms.

Summer 2015: Colleges in England were written to over the summer and asked to confirm that they would meet our 2015-16 claim of an increase in pay of £1 per working hour for staff at all points. They were given until noon 11 September to confirm that they would meet our claim. Colleges that did not agree to meet our pay claim then received notice that UCU would be balloting its members on taking strike action over a failure to agree a pay increase for 2015/16.

Ballot result - October 2015: The result of the industrial action ballot which opened on 28 September and closed on 15 October, is as follows:

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?
Number voting YES: 73.7%
Number voting NO: 26.3%

FE pay ballot 2015, scrutineer report [65kb].

Strike - 10 November 2015: Members in those branches who are part of the dispute took strike action on Tuesday 10 November 2015. Packed rallies took place in Birmingham and London which was addressed by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and shadow FE minister Gordon Marsden. Read Sally's piece in the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) blog here.

Next steps - December 2015: A special meeting of UCU's Further Education Committee was held on 11 December to consider branch feedback from the 10 November strike and determine the next steps in the dispute. There was a report on further developments since 10 November which included:

  • a meeting with the other unions to be held on 15 January 2016
  • UNISON's FE committee have decided to ballot their FE England members on strike action with in January
  • in light of the better than expected outcome of the government's comprehensive spending review UCU and UNISON wrote to the AoC seeking to re-open the 2015/16 pay talks; the AoC responded that they had no mandate to re-open talks.

FEC voted to make initial preparations for a further one day strike, proposed to coordinate any UNISON action.

Joint strike agreement - January 2016: UCU proposed coordinating action with Unison at a National Joint Forum (NJF) trade union side meeting in January. Our proposal was accepted and it was agreed that should Unison members vote in favour of action the two unions would co-ordinate strike action.

UCU & UNISON joint strike - 24 February 2016: UCU and UNISON further education branches in England took joint strike action over pay for the first time in over a decade on 24 February 2016 over the failure to agree our pay claim of £1 extra per hour. See below for full list of branches included.

March 2016: UCU's FE committee met on 4 March 2016. In the light of feedback from branches the committee adopted a recommendation that: 'UCU should take no further action in pursuit of the 2015/16 claim and instead initiate discussions with the other trade unions in order to draft an FE England pay and conditions claim for 2016/17 for submission as soon as possible.'

Therefore UCU will seek discussions with the other FE trade unions over the composition of a pay and conditions claim for 2016/17 to be submitted before the end of April. There are some indications that the AoC may be prepared to hold talks on a broader range of issues for 2016/17 than in previous years where their bargaining remit has been extremely restrictive.

For a fuller report please see FE News 65 [137kb].

*branches included (at 23 February 2016):

It should be noted that some branches are not part of the dispute against the AoC's recommendation of a pay freeze. With national UCU's agreement some branches have adopted a parallel process of submitting the national pay claim to their college along with additional claims to address members' concerns and local circumstances.

For example, sometimes there has been no pay award in recent years or the problem is not just about the % increase but difficulties with the scale point members are being paid on.

There have been a number of successes where this strategy has resulted in agreements which have produced gains for members. Read more in FE news 62, Oct 15 [103kb] and FE News 65 [137kb].

Abingdon and Witney College
Accrington and Rossendale College
Activate Learning
Alton College
Amersham and Wycombe College
Askham Bryan College
Aylesbury College
Barking and Dagenham College
Barnet & Southgate College
Barnfield College
Barnsley College
Basingstoke College
Bedford College
Berkshire College of Agriculture
Bexley College
Birmingham Metropolitan College (Matthew Boulton Campus)
Birmingham Metropolitan College (Stourbridge Branch)
Bishop Auckland College
Bishop Burton College
Blackburn College
Blackpool & The Fylde College
Bolton College
Boston College
Bournemouth & Poole College
Bournville College of FE
Bracknell and Wokingham College
Bradford College
Bridgwater College
Brockenhurst College
Bromley College
Brooklands College
Brooksby Melton College
Burton and South Derbyshire College
Bury College
Capel Manor College
Carlisle College
Carshalton College
Central Bedfordshire College
Central College Nottingham
Central Sussex College
Chelmsford College
Chesterfield College
Chichester College
Cirencester College
City and Islington College
City College Brighton and Hove
City College Coventry
City College Norwich
City College Plymouth
City Lit
City of Bristol College
City of Liverpool College
City of Westminster College
Colchester Institute College
College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London
College of North West London
College of West Anglia
Cornwall College and Bicton College
Craven College
Croydon College
Darlington College
Dearne Valley College
Derby College
Derwentside College
Doncaster College
East Berkshire College
East Durham College
East Kent College (Formerly Thanet College)
East Riding College
East Surrey College
Easton and Otley College
Epping Forest College
Exeter College
Fareham College
Farnborough College of Technology
Gloucestershire College
Grantham College
Great Yarmouth College
Greenwich Community College
Grimsby Institute/Yorkshire Coast College
Guildford College
Hackney Community College
Hadlow College
Halesowen College
Harlow College
Harrow College
Hartlepool College
Hartpury College
Havering College, The
Heart of Worcester College
Henley College
Henley College Coventry
Herefordshire and Ludlow College
Herefordshire College of Art
Hereward College
Hertford Regional College
Highbury College
Hillcroft College
Hopwood Hall College
Hugh Baird College
Huntingdonshire Regional College
Isle of Wight College
Kensington & Chelsea College
Kingston  College
Kingston Maurwood
Kirklees College
Knowsley Community College
Lambeth College
Lancaster & Morecambe College
Leeds City College
Lewisham Southwark College (formerly LeSoCo)
Lincoln College
Lowestoft College
Macclesfield College
Manchester College Prison Education, The
Manchester College, The
Mary Ward Centre
Mid Cheshire College
Milton Keynes College
Milton Keynes Prison
Morley College
Myerscough College
Nelson & Colne College
New College Nottingham
New College Stamford
New College Swindon
Newbury College
North East Surrey College of Technology NESCOT
North Hertfordshire College
North Kent College
North Lindsey College
North Nottinghamshire College
North Warwickshire & Hinckley College
Northampton College
Northumberland College
Oldham College
Peterborough Regional College
Petroc -Barnstaple/East Devon
Plumpton College
Plymouth College of Art
Preston's College
Redbridge College
Redcar & Cleveland College
Richmond Adult Community College
Richmond Upon Thames College
Riverside College
Runshaw College
Sandwell College of F & HE
Selby College
Shipley College
Solihull College
Somerset College
South & City College Birmingham
South Cheshire College
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
South Leicestershire College
South Staffordshire College
South Thames College
South Tyneside College
South Worcestershire College
Southampton City College
Southport College
Sparsholt College
St Helens College
Stafford College
Stanmore College
Stephenson College
Stockport College
Stoke-on-Trent College
Stratford upon Avon College
Strode College
Suffolk New College
Sussex Coast College Hastings
Sussex Downs College
Swindon College
Tameside College
Tower Hamlets College
Trafford College
Tresham Institute College
Truro & Penwith College
Tyne Metropolitan College
Uxbridge College
Wakefield College
Walsall College
Warrington Collegiate
Warwickshire College
West Cheshire College
West Herts College
West Kent and Ashford (formerly K College)
West Thames College
Westminster Kingsway College
Weston College
Weymouth College
Wigan & Leigh College
Wiltshire College
Wirral Metropolitan College
Working Mens College, The
Yeovil College