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'It's time to talk' on college pay, says UCU

31 October 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU has called on colleges throughout England to start serious talks about implementing a crucial pay deal that was designed to dramatically narrow the earnings gap between lecturers and schoolteachers.

That pay deal was drawn up just over two years ago to address the shocking 10% pay gap between further education lecturers and schoolteachers. The deal was to be implemented in the academic years of 2003-04 and 2004-05 but 151 colleges still haven't paid up. Many have blamed financial hardship.

The deal was agreed at a national level between UCU and the umbrella body for colleges, the Association of Colleges. It included new pay scales that would significantly improve college lecturers' earnings. Once on the new scales, a qualified lecturer working outside of London will get a starting salary of £21,492 which is £1,851 above that of an equivalent schoolteacher.

A recent agreement between UCU and the Association of Colleges, recognised the failure of colleges to pay the deal and calls on them to enter into local talks to agree a timetable for implementing it by March 2007 - six months from now.

Barry Lovejoy, UCU national head of further education, said: 'It's time to talk. All the colleges that haven't implemented these crucial pay scales should enter meaningful negotiations with us and agree a timetable for their introduction.

'Further education colleges are too often seen as second-class to schools and the pay discrepancy between lecturers and schoolteachers is a reason for that. Colleges need to seize this opportunity to get fair pay for lecturers once and for all. Together, we can draw a line under this.'

'UCU will negotiate with colleges taking into account local circumstances on a timetable for the introduction of the scales but those colleges should be in no doubt that we expect an agreement to be honoured.'

The 2003-05 pay deal included:

  • 3% rise in 2003-04
  • 3% rise in 2004-05
  • new pay scale in 2004-05

Overall, 60% of UCU's membership now works in colleges that use these scales.

UCU will need to address the anomalies with schoolteachers that remain even where the pay scales are in place. Classroom schoolteachers have a higher maximum salary point of £33,444 which is £915 above the lecturers' maximum point on the new scales. In addition, some 50% of schoolteachers receive extra allowances on top of their salaries but there are no such allowances in further education.

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