UNISON has today submitted a pay claim for further education colleges in England, which seeks a “full restoration” of the cuts to pay in the sector over the past decade.
The claim calls for:
- a significant move towards the full restoration of college pay levels to where they would be had college pay kept pace with inflation since 2009;
- the living wage, as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, to be the minimum wage in the sector, with all further education colleges in England becoming accredited living wage employers with the foundation;
- all contracted-out services to be brought back in-house with improvements in terms and conditions equal to those already directly employed by the college.
UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “The government has made some big announcements on further education recently. We’ve heard recognition of the need to invest in skills, promises on the need to reinvigorate adult education, a new drive on apprenticeships and the need to end the ‘bogus distinction’ between further and higher education.
“After more than a decade of cuts to the sector, and a decade of cuts to staff and pay, the FE sector needs investment – not just in buildings and equipment, but in staff to fulfil this ambitious agenda.
“That is why today’s pay claim seeks a full restoration of the cuts to pay over the past 10 years.”
And Mr Richards concluded: “Austerity was a mistake and now is the time for the government to rectify that mistake. Further education is vital to the recovery of our country and finally the government sees this. Further education employers in England must act now to address low pay in colleges.”