UNISON to ballot further education members over strike action in support of better pay

UNISON, the largest union for support staff in colleges, will ballot its members in further education colleges in England and Wales for strike action in the autumn.

The employers offer of 2.3% has been rejected by 80% of UNISON members consulted on the offer. The employers offer was 2.3% or £400 for staff up to salary point 11/£10,903.

The unions claim is for:

A substantial pay increase with a flat rate element to address low pay in the sector;

A minimum starting salary of £11,000 for all support staff;

The removal of points 3 and 4 of the Lecturers Scale and progression for all lecturers to point 16;

Negotiations to agree national pay scales for implementation in all colleges;

A weighting allowance of £4000 across all London and its fringes;

A nationally negotiated agreement on annual leave and working hours with a maximum 35 hour working week.

UNISON National Officer for Further Education, Christina McAnea said:

ÒAlthough the employersÕ gesture to do something for the lowest paid is welcome it doesnÕt go nearly far enough.

ÒThe offer is worth an extra 21p per hour for the lowest paid. But for staff above point 11 it is worth as little as 13p per hour.

ÒTaken in context with other pay offers in the education sector Ð staff in further education rightly feel insulted and that their employers put a very low value on their contribution to collegesÓ.


School staff have been offered 7.7% over 2 years, 10.9% for the lowest paid (52 pence per hour). Sixth form colleges have offered 3.5% for all staff.

Universities have offered a deal worth 3.5% but which would give 5% to the lowest paid.

Christina McAnea added:

ÒStaff in further colleges have put up with poverty pay levels for too long and have been excluded from the Teaching Pay Initiative. Patience is running out. Even Cinderella got to go to the ball eventually Ð we want to know when itÕs our turnÓ.