Strikes suspended at Hugh Baird College following breakthrough in talks

28 January 2019

Governors to consider new deal for pay and annual leave entitlement increases

A two-day strike due to begin on at Hugh Baird College Tuesday 29 January has been suspended at the eleventh hour to allow college governors to consider a deal negotiated by the college and UCU.

The deal would see lecturing staff receive a pay rise of between 3% and 6% over two years, with an extra five days' annual leave granted for 2018/19. UCU members had threatened to walk out after seeing their pay fall behind in real-terms after years of below inflation deals.

The news comes just hours before UCU members were due to walk out at Hugh Baird and 14 other colleges in England as part of a second wave of action. The union said the landmark deal was further proof that colleges and the union could work together to secure a better deal for staff.

UCU said that other colleges who wished to avoid disruption in the future should follow Hugh Baird College's lead and negotiate now on pay and conditions. The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000, while around two-thirds of college heads say pay is a major obstacle when it comes to attracting staff.

Hugh Baird College governors will meet on Friday 8 February to ratify the deal, which has already been endorsed by UCU members. If both sides are happy then the dispute would be resolved and the threat of further strikes planned for March lifted.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: This landmark deal sets the bar for other colleges when it comes to the pay and conditions of staff. Too often colleges hide behind low levels of government investment to avoid giving their staff a fair pay deal.

'This deal shows what can be achieved when colleges work with us to avoid disruption and look after their staff. If the governors sign it off then the strikes planned for March can be called off.'

Hugh Baird college principal and chief executive, Yana Williams, said: 'Our staff are the most important asset we have at the College to ensure we can provide quality education and support to our communities.

'This deal aims to recognise the importance we place on our staff whilst ensuring college finances remains sustainable at a time when Government funding for the further education sector remains the same as it was seven years ago.'

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