Calling all UNISON members in Further Education (FE) in England – take part in our online ballot and have your say on pay.

Voting is now open and closes on 6 February 2019.

If you work in FE in England, this is your chance to tell us what action you would be prepared to take to help us improve your pay.

Please note, this is a ballot for UNISON members in England only. We are not balloting members in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland on pay.

Vote now

If you are not already a member, but work in FE in England you can still take part in the ballot if you join by 23 January 2019.

Join now

UNISON is recommending that you vote YES for both strike action and YES for action short of strike action. Your vote will help us show the strength of your feelings as we negotiate with employers and the government.

Members should have received an email with a link to vote.

Check we have a current email address for you:

Update your details

You will be able to vote even if we do not have your email address by going to the voting form.


FE pay ballot results

UNISON members working in 13 further education colleges in England have voted in an industrial action ballot over the employers’ pay offer

Strike ballot over ‘derisory’ pay for college staff

Hundreds of further education (FE) staff will today (Tuesday) vote on taking strike action over pay, says UNISON. Employees at 14 colleges* across England will take part in the ballot including institutions in Bradford, Norwich and Brighton. The dispute is over a national pay offer** from employers which UNISON has rejected and described as ‘derisory’. The […]

Update on FE pay in Wales

More clarification is needed before the offer can be consulted on, says UNISON

FE members to be consulted over pay offer

Government refuses to provide additional funding for colleges to make better pay offer

Unions and employers link up to fight for colleges

Campaign will see further education unions, college employers and students lobby Parliament in October to call for proper funding

The issue

UNISON represents 30,000 members working in FE colleges across the UK. Our members do a fantastic job helping students learn, keeping buildings safe and clean, making things run smoothly and ensuring that all students are supported while they are at college.

But, they are being forced to do these jobs under increasing pressure as years of underfunding takes its toll. In the last 10 years funding in our FE colleges has been cut, in real terms, by a massive 30% leaving staff with fewer resources and struggling to provide a meaningful education to students.

At the same time our members have seen their pay cut by a whopping 25%. Staff in some colleges in England have not had a pay rise at all in the last 10 years, while others get small rises that don’t keep up with the cost of living. It’s no wonder that people are struggling to make ends meet.

We can’t go on like this. Our members deserve so much better.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) – the employers’ representative in England – has recommended a 1% pay increase, or a one-off payment of £250, whichever is greater.

UNISON believes that this isn’t good enough. That’s why we’re balloting members in a number of further education colleges and asking them to take action for an improved pay offer from your employer.




FE pay

  • Who decides my pay?

    Pay in further education colleges in England is decided at a local level. Unlike Scotland, England does not have a national bargaining system in which colleges are obliged to offer a centrally awarded pay offer. However, the employers, represented by the Association of Colleges (AoC), do negotiate a pay recommendation annually with unions and many colleges award the recommendation.

  • Which colleges are in the ballot?

    UNISON members in the following colleges are being balloted:

    Abingdon & Witney College
    Blackburn College
    Bolton College
    Bradford College
    Greater Brighton Metropolitan College
    Lambeth College/South Bank Colleges
    Leeds City College
    Leeds College of Building
    LTE Group (Manchester College)
    Norwich City College
    Warwickshire Colleges Group
    Wirral Metropolitan College
    York College

  • What happens in a statutory ballot?

    A statutory ballot is a legal requirement if members want to take further action to secure better pay and conditions at work. In this case, the ballot will ask one question:

    • would you be prepared to take strike action?
  • What is strike action?

    Strike action means that a member withdraws their labour (i.e. does not go into the workplace) and consequently will not receive pay for the period that they were on strike.

    UNISON is recommending that you vote YES for strike action to send a message to your employer that you deserve a better pay offer.

  • Why haven’t I received details about this?

    Sometimes members’ records are not up-to-date on the systems we hold. You will need to check what information we have for you using this link or calling UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.

    You will then be able to update your records with your current email and home address. We’ll email you to remind you to return your ballot paper.

  • Will I receive ballot papers in the post?

    Yes. Eligible members will receive ballot papers at their home address. If you haven’t received one by 29 April, please phone the ballot helpline on 0800 0 857857.

  • Are brand new members eligible to vote?

    Yes, so long as you have applied and registered your details by 9 May.

    Joining online is the quickest and easiest way to join UNISON:

    Join now