UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Key developments over pay

23 November 2018

Update on the Wales FE pay and workload disputes from Margaret Phelan, UCU Wales official

The Welsh Government have announced that they have found the money in their draft budget for this year and have committed to finding the money in the next financial year to ensure that pay parity with school teachers can be maintained. Your determination to protect your pay and conditions is paying off, stay strong and we will win the benefits to your terms and conditions.

What does that mean for your pay?

A meeting has been arranged with representatives of the principals next Wednesday 28 November at which we are expecting to receive a revised offer from them on pay. We don't know whether that offer will reflect precisely the offer made to school teachers in Wales: the unqualified and main grades received 3.5%; the upper pay scales received 2% and school leaders received 1.5%. We understand that support staff in schools received 2%, unless their wage was below the national living wage in which case they had a higher award.
The joint trade unions are meeting on Friday 30 November and we will notify you of the outcome of that meeting. There will be a further special further education sector committee (FESC) on Saturday 8 December to discuss the offer from your employer and take decisions - so please make sure you let your branch officers know what you think about the offer. It will be circulated in time to allow you to read it and ask questions and feedback before the special FESC. FESC has already agreed that if the offer matches the offer made to school teachers  then a ballot of members will take place, date to be agreed.

Are we taking strike action on Tuesday 4 December to pursue the workload negotiations?

The purpose of the lobby of the Assembly on the first day of strike was to influence the budget discussions to ensure that money was found address our pay claim. That is no longer necessary, as the money has been found by the Welsh Government to meet pay parity with school teachers.

Your negotiators and officers of the FESC have discussed the need to start strike action on Tuesday 4 December. ColegauCymru (CC) made it clear that they would not discuss workload until after the pay dispute was resolved. We hope that they will offer dates on Wednesday 28 November and if they do, we believe it would be appropriate to suspend action, to allow for those meetings to take place. However, if we are wrong and they do not offer appropriate dates on 28 November, then the strike on 4 December, over their failure to negotiate with us on the national workload agreement, will go ahead.


Margaret Phelan
UCU Wales official