Paltry college pay offer accepted, reluctantly

UNISON has reluctantly accepted a “paltry” 2013 national pay offer of 0.7% for members working in English further education colleges.

The union’s national colleges committee met this week and agreed the offer after consulting branches.

As well as a 0.7% increase, the offer includes making the living wage rate of £7.45 an hour as the bottom point of the national pay scale.

But the offer by the employers’ body,the Association of Colleges, is a recommendation to its members, and union branches will need to work to make sure it is implemented in individual colleges, especially where they are facing funding cuts or redundancies.

The union will pursue a number of terms and conditions issues that are on the table with the employers when the colleges committee meets again on 4 October.

These include:

  • the use of zero-hour contracts;
  • lesson observation;
  • a case study project;
  • joint agreements and guidance on handling capability, avoiding redundancies and handling them where they do take place, and sickness leave.

UNISON national officer Christine Lewis commented: “The thorniest of these issues is a proposed new sickness leave agreement, which the Association of Colleges says is prompted by a survey suggesting that there are high levels of sickness absence in the sector with a significant cost.”

The joint unions are challenging the employers’ data and talks continue.

Key issue: pay in education

UNISON education services