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Dispute threat in Wales as FE employers rebuff workload talks

14 December 2006 | last updated: 14 December 2015

The threat of industrial action is looming in Wales after college employers failed to agree to talks on lecturers' hours, holidays and workloads, despite continued joint union attempts to find a way forward.

The Welsh employers' organisation Fforwm has told the joint trade unions they may be willing to discuss 'human resources' issues following the recently announced FE review in Wales. But they will only discuss those issues raised in the final report.

Wales FESC Chair Craig Lewis said: 'While Fforwm's stance is a move in the right direction it does not give us any firm guarantee that they will talk seriously about lecturer conditions of service. We cannot gamble on the outcome of the review. At the same time the employers have agreed unequivocally to discuss management and support staff conditions!

'To show our good faith we have agreed that such talks could start after the FE review. But if there is no positive response on this by early January, UCU Wales will declare a dispute in every college and ballot for national industrial action.'

He added: 'We could not have been more reasonable in our approach to this year's pay claim. We have recognised that funding is extremely tight. Under normal circumstances the employers' 2.5% offer would be derisory. It is substantially less than inflation, which is currently nudging 4%. It would represent a cut in living standards for all lecturers. But we have said that we would accept this in return for talks on workload issues.'

See the full report from UCU's FE sector committee below.