Further education pay rises agreed in England and Wales

Consultations see members agree pay rises for 2016/17 in both countries – UNISON calls on colleges in England to implement Association of Colleges offer as soon as possible

UNISON members in further education have voted to accept pay offers for 2016/17 from employers in England and Wales.

The Association of Colleges offer in England – of 1% or £250 a year, whichever is higher – was formally accepted by the union’s FE committee after members voted 70% in favour, in a consultation.

It is a recommendation by the AoC and applies to all colleges in England. UNISON is calling on individual colleges to implement it as soon as possible.

Members in Wales accepted a Colegau Cymru/Colleges Wales offer of 1%, and a commitment to pay the living wage of £8.45 an hour, in a consultation.

This will be paid to directly employed staff in all 14 colleges in the country.

UNISON and UCU members in England took strike action last year after the employers made an “offer” of 0%, and UNISON national officer Ruth Levin called this year’s offer “a move in the right direction”, although it is “not as high as many had hoped”.

She added that the union is calling on English colleges to implement the recommendation and start talks with their local UNISON reps over making sure that they pay at least the living wage (£8.45 and hour, or £9.75 in London).

“Colleges must do more to ensure that all staff are properly rewarded,” said Ms Levin. “Wages in FE have not kept up with the cost of living for many years.”

That was a point repeated by UNISON Cymru/Wales head of further education Stephen Dunn, who said that “below inflation pay rises are having a real impact on our members, alongside increasing workloads linked to cuts in funding.”