College workers to vote on industrial action

Members at ‘around 20’ FE colleges in England will take part in nationally co-ordinated ballot

UNISON speaking up for public services placards tied to railing

UNISON members at approximately 20 further education colleges in England are to be balloted over potential industrial action following the union’s pay consultation, which ended last week.

The union’s national secretary for education and local government Jon Richards said: “UNISON is to hold a nationally co-ordinated ballot of around 20 further education colleges across England.

“If college support staff vote to take action over pay, the plan would be to co-ordinate action with UCU later in the academic year.”

UNISON members in colleges work in a range of non-teaching roles and are among the lowest paid workers in colleges.

A recent survey by the union showed that almost 13% struggle to pay for food, while one in 50 rely on food banks.

UNISON and other unions representing college workers – UCU, the NEU, GMB and Unite – submitted a joint claim for a pay rise of 5% or £1,500 a year for workers earning less than £30,000 a year.

The Association of Colleges has recommended rises of 1% or £250 a year – whichever is greater – to its member colleges.