Wednesday, February 24, 2016

UCU and UNISON back strike action today by further education college staff

College workers in England voted by 2 to 1 to go on strike on 24 February following a 0% pay ‘offer’.

College workers in England have been offered no pay rise, when many have lost the equivalent of more than £3,000 over the last five years because of inflation and pay restraint.

In a consultation UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to reject the employers’ offer of no pay rise and balloted for industrial action on pay.

Members voted by 2 to 1 in favour of strike action and by 4 to 1 in favour of action short of a strike.

The issue

College workers have had below-inflation pay deals for the last five years and some are as much as the equivalent of £3,000 worse off. This is a 17% cut in real terms since 2010.

UNISON wrote to individual colleges to ask for a better pay offer for staff

In a consultation, UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected the employers’ offer of no pay rise. So UNISON wrote to individual colleges giving them another chance, asking them to make a better local offer. Sadly only a small number made improved offers. More than half didn’t reply.

Members working in further education were balloted over industrial action on pay

UNISON took the tough decision to ballot members over industrial action on pay. The government’s recent Comprehensive Spending Review was less harsh on further education funding than had been predicted and we believe that there is money available in colleges to pay college staff what they deserve.

College staff have picked up the extra work and cuts, redundancies and reorganisations have taken their toll on pay and morale, but the employers aren’t offering anything in return.

UNISON is working with our sister union UCU (which is also in dispute), and other unions to seek to get an improved offer.

Still time for colleges to make a better offer

There is still time for colleges to make a better offer. That’s why we are calling on the further education national employers’ organisation, the Association of Colleges, to come back to the table and reopen national pay negotiations.

Get involved

In order to win a fairer pay deal we need your help. Please:
  • talk to colleagues in your workplace about pay and why no pay rise is unacceptable to you
  • encourage non-members to join UNISON
  • go to your workplace meetings to discuss the pay campaign
  • ask your local UNISON representative how you can get more involved.
The ballot opened on 6 January and closed 29 January.

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