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UCU says time has come for significant pay rise in further education

24 November 2020 | last updated: 2 December 2020

UCU called for colleges to recommend a significant increase in staff pay for 2020/21.

The union made the call in a letter to all English college principals ahead of pay talks with the Association of Colleges (AoC), the body that represents English colleges.  

UCU and its sister unions submitted a pay claim last month, which included a demand for a significant move towards full restoration of college pay levels to match inflation since 2009. The unions make clear college staff have suffered a real-term pay cut of 30% since 2009. In that time funding for further education was slashed by almost half and over 24,000 teaching staff have left the sector.

This year, for the first time in a decade, colleges saw a significant funding increase of £400m, this was followed by a £2.5bn National Skills Fund to support adults with retraining. The government has also set out plans for a major expansion of further education as part of the post-Covid recovery. UCU said the increases in government funding must lead to an offer of a significant staff pay increase in Thursday's meeting. 

UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: 'We have written to all English college principals demanding they finally meet staff demands for a pay rise after more than a decade of real-term pay cuts. Further education has borne the brunt of Tory austerity and seen funding almost slashed in half.

'Now the government has finally realised that colleges will be essential to the post-Covid recovery and significant investment has been injected into the sector. But we have 24,000 fewer lecturers than a decade ago, and teaching in further education is not as attractive following a 30 % real-term pay cut over the last decade. At Thursday's meeting, the AoC needs to recommend a significant boost in staff pay to restore pay levels to retain and hire the staff that will provide the post-Covid recovery.'

 

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