Fair pay in FE

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week 14 FE colleges will take strike action over pay, workload and national binding bargaining. FE lecturers’ pay has been cut by 30% in real terms over the last decade. At the same time workloads have increased as management pack classrooms to maximise their profits. FE staff have to spend more time chasing attendance, creating meaningless smart targets and filling in data to meet the demands of senior management. FE needs to fight back and gain a new deal on pay and workloads – ensuring that all colleges implement the same pay rise and follow agreed workload guidelines.

On Tuesday (14th November) UCU will hold a Rally for Respect, 12 – 2pm at the Emmanuel Centre in Central London followed by a lobby of Parliament. This will be an important event to raise the profile of FE and to apply pressure on the government to increase funding for the sector and to challenge the idea that FE is somehow a ‘Cinderella sector’. We urge everyone who can to come along and take part.

This was a national campaign, which led to a historic result for FE as in March e-consultative resulted in an 87% Yes vote for action on a 51% turnout. This was an incredible result that demonstrated the strength of feeling with FE. Unfortunately, this was not built upon. There was a fear amongst some that, still, FE was not ready for a nationally aggregated ballot despite the e-ballot result. The postal ballot was then delayed until late August at a time when FE is busy enrolling and setting up courses. However, 32 branches still managed to beat the anti-trade union 50% threshold. Since then, 15 branches have accepted deals of at least 6.5% pay rises, and some have managed to get some agreement on workloads.

Although this is welcome, we believe that all FE colleges deserve a pay rise that doesn’t fall below inflation. UCU needs to take an industrial strategy that levels up the whole FE sector, rather than the piecemeal approach that leads to lecturer’s being paid vastly different salaries for exactly the same work.

14 branches are still fighting over pay and workloads, and we encourage everyone to go and visit their picket lines to show them solidarity.

  • Bath College
  • Bolton College
  • Capital City College Group
  • Craven College
  • Croydon College
  • Farnborough College of Technology
  • Heart of Yorkshire Education Group
  • Hugh Baird College
  • Loughborough College
  • Myerscough College
  • Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group
  • Runshaw College
  • Warrington & Vale Royal College
  • Weymouth College

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