Members working in further education in England have been getting a raw deal from their employers for too long. See how FE IS FIGHTING BACK!

A new approach to collective bargaining in English further education  sector

UCU is now approaching collective bargaining in further education in England in a new way. Read why the new approach is necessary, what it offers and how you can get involved: National Plus in FE

FE England: 2018-20

Timeline of development over pay in English colleges during 2018-2020.

Many branches are now bargaining locally over pay. The national joint union claim for 2019-20 called for:

  • £1 extra per hour for all staff with Foundation Living wage being the minimum wage in FE.
  • An additional 5 days of annual leave per year.

This resulted in a 'derisory' 1% pay offer for 2019-20.

Tower Hamlets College dispute ends with improved pay deal 

UCU members at Tower Hamlets College (THC) have resolved a dispute on pay, conditions and trade union rights following eight days of strike action in the last year. The union has secured an agreement with New City College Group employers that makes an important step forward for all those who work and study at the college including a minimum consolidated pay award of 2.75% for August (3% minimum for lowest paid), measures to address workload, formalised union rights and other improvements to working conditions.

Further education funding: now college leaders have to deliver fair pay

UCU's head of further education (FE) Andrew Harden writes in Tes here on why college leaders have no more excuses to avoid paying staff fairly. 'Staff in further education have suffered through a decade of decline: 10 years of cuts, closures and pay suppression. There is now an opportunity for college leaders to strike a different tone for the decade ahead, by rewarding their staff fairly for the important work they do.' 

UCU NEC member Sean Vernell also writes in this week's Tes on how college merger mania has failed and the need for a new model for colleges.

Colleges' refusal to prioritise staff prompts strike warnings

English colleges are facing potential disruption in the new year after employers were accused of a 'breach of faith' over pay. UCU said it would consult members over strike action after a 'derisory' 1% pay offer was made even though the employers' body had previously acknowledged that staff deserved more and campaigned alongside the UCU in calling for additional funding: Strikes on the cards after colleges refuse to prioritise staff

Mammoth 15 days of strikes continue at Nottingham College

Nottingham College will be hit with another 14 strike days from Tuesday 5 November after striking staff announced plans for further action and accused the college of reneging on promises over workloads.

UCU members are furious at the college's 'deplorable tactic' of threatening to dismiss staff who refuse to sign up to new contracts that would leave them worse off. Staff made their frustrations clear at a meeting where they unanimously backed the first tranche of extensive walkouts.

A petition in support of striking staff at Nottingham College has over 3,500 signatures.

Three days of strike action at Bradford College

Members of UCU at Bradford College are due to go on strike on Wednesday 3, Thursday 4 and Friday 5 July in rows over job cuts and pay. The college wants to axe 131 jobs in a bid to save money. UCU members at Bradford College have already walked out for seven days of strikes this year in the row over pay. Three-day walkout at Bradford College from Wednesday

Strike goes ahead at Nottingham College

Staff at Nottingham College are walking out in a row over the college's plans to impose new contracts which would leave over 80 staff more than £1,000 worse off, despite not receiving a pay rise since 2010, and would see staff lose up to eight days' holiday and cuts to sick pay: Strike on at Nottingham College on Monday

Annual congress backs FE motions

Delegates at UCU's annual congress passed a number of resolutions relating to pay in FE, including congratulating those branches that have secured ground breaking pay and conditions deals off the back of ballots and action: FE sector conference

Joint union claim submitted

The joint trade unions have submitted a pay claim for the 2019/20 academic year to the employers' representatives the Association of Colleges (AoC). The claim asks for:

  • £1 extra per hour for all staff with Foundation Living wage being the minimum wage in FE.
  • An additional 5 days of annual leave per year.

Trade unions and AoC representatives will commence this year's pay talks at a meeting of the National Joint Forum on 10 June 2019.

Joint union letter to AoC on the pay claim for 2019-20 [455kb]

West Thames College strikes to go ahead

Staff at West Thames College will walk out for another two days on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 May after the college failed to make an improved pay offer: More strikes at West Thames College after college fails to improve deal

Improved deal sees further strikes called off at Lambeth College

The deal is worth over 3% in pay with additional holiday days, sick pay benefits and a reduction in teaching hours: Strikes off at Lambeth College as deal reached on pay and conditions

West Thames College strikes go ahead

Members at West Thames College will be on strike on 7 and 8 May after talks over pay broke down at the end of last week: Strikes on at West Thames College this week

Figures reveal falling pay in colleges

Pay in further education has dropped, according to data released by the Education and Training Foundation, with a 'decrease in median teacher pay across all providers' from £31,800 in 2016-17 to £31,600 in 2017-18. UCU said the figures lifted the lid on state of pay and conditions in colleges and warned that colleges needed to engage with the union if they wanted to avoid strikes: UCU warns of further disruption as figures reveal falling pay in colleges

More strikes and new ballots at London colleges

Members at Lambeth College (29 April - 1 May) and New City College (30 April-2 May) will be on strike this week as industrial action ballots open at Croydon College and the Hackney campus of New City College in the fight for better pay and conditions: Further strikes and ballots at London colleges this week

West Midlands colleges to see further action

Strike action will hit Coventry College, City of Wolverhampton College and the Warwickshire College Group during the week beginning 8 April in their ongoing pay disputes:

UCU members will walk out on the following days:

  • City of Wolverhampton College - Monday 8, Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 April
  • Warwickshire College Group - Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 April
  • Coventry College - Tuesday 9, Wednesday 10 April and Thursday 11 April

There is particular frustration among City of Wolverhampton College members after the employers  refused an offer from UCU to meet through arbitration experts Acas to try and avoid strike action following suspension of planned action in March.

Strikes to hit three West Midlands colleges in pay row

Five colleges till out as progress sees some action suspended

Strikes still on at five colleges - West Thames College, South Bank College, Croydon College, Bradford College and Harlow College - while progress in talks sees action suspended at Bath, Petroc, and City of Wolverhampton colleges.

The dispute at Bridgwater & Taunton is now over after members voted to accept a deal that includes the end of graded lesson observations and a 2% pay rise over nine months (1% in April 2019 and another 1% in January 2020). Lower paid members will receive a 5% increase in April 2019.

Branches preparing for further strike action

Ten colleges are preparing for a fresh round of strike action on 20, 21 and 22 March: Bath College, Bradford College, Bridgewater and Taunton College, City of Wolverhampton College, Croydon College, Harlow College, South Bank College (Lambeth previously) and Petroc, with West Thames College members walking out on 18, 19 and 20 March.

Action at Abingdon and Whitney has been suspended due to progress in talks. New College Swindon members backed a deal on the eve of further action.

Ballots open at further colleges

Strikes at more colleges could be the cards as ballots held:

MP pledges full support as prime minister questioned over FE policy

Seema Malhotra, the MP for Feltham and Heston, said a pay rise is long overdue as she gives full support to West Thames College strikers. Meanwhile, after prime minister's questions UCU has said Theresa May's claim to respect further education does not stand up to scrutiny  and will ring hollow with the hundreds of UCU members out on strike over pay this week.

Another MP gives a strike day boost

Boost for Leicester College strikers as local MP offers full support

Three colleges see action suspended

Members at 13 colleges are preparing for action as action is suspended at Hugh Baird College and New College Swindon after  deals are agreed, and also at Coventry College to allow talks to continue:

MPs support strikers

Members at Abingdon and Witney College, City of Wolverhampton College and West Thames College have been given a boost ahead of their two-day walkout over pay after local MPs gave their support. Meanwhile strikes at New College Swindon were confirmed after talks between UCU and the college broke down.

January strike dates confirmed

UCU members at 16 English colleges are being called to take strike action for two days starting on Tuesday 29 January: ​Strike dates announced at 15 English colleges in pay row

New strike dates proposed

UCU's further education committee (FEC) officers have recommended 29 and 30 January, and 20, 21 and 22 March as the next strike days so please look out for confirmation over the next week.

Ten more colleges to join the action

UCU members at ten colleges have voted for industrial action and can join colleagues at six colleges who took action in November in the next wave of strikes. UCU's officers will meet as soon as possible to discuss plans for further strikes in the dispute which centres on the failure of college bosses to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen their pay decline by 25% over the last decade: New year strike threat at 16 English colleges in row over pay

What are you worth?

Last week the Association of Colleges made an offer of 1% on behalf of employers - an insult which does not come close to recognising the work you do and which would widen the gap between your pay and schoolteachers rather than close it: Is a 1% pay rise all you're worth?

Wholly inadequate

A 'wholly inadequate response' is UCU's description of the pay offer of just 1% from the Association of Colleges (AoC) made against the backdrop of the pay crisis in further education which has left teaching staff being paid £7,000 a year less than school teachers:

Why we're taking action

Bradford College UCU branch secretary, Geraint Evans, on the reasons as to why his members are being forced to take industrial action:

First wave of strike action confirmed

UCU members at six English colleges will be taking strike action on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 November as the first wave of industrial action begins in the fight for fairer pay

As members walk out at the six striking colleges - Bath College, Bradford College, Croydon College, Lambeth College, New College Swindon and Petroc - ballots at 26 more institutions* will open. Those ballots close on Wednesday 19 December.

First wave of strikes in English colleges to begin on 28 November

Strike dates announced

UCU has written to six FE colleges to inform them that UCU members will be taking strike action for two days from 28 November, the same day that fresh ballots will open in many other colleges across the country.

UCU will provide full support to members in the six colleges (New College Swindon, Bath, Petroc, Bradford, Lambeth and Croydon Colleges) taking this first wave of strike action with hardship payments of up to £75 for each day of strike action taken.