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FE unions stage joint protest ahead of pay talks

4 June 2008 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Members from five further education trade unions: UNISON, UCU, GMB, UNITE, and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) will today stage joint protests over pay at colleges across the country.

The protests come a day before all six further education unions, including the ACM (Association for College Management), meet with the employers' organisation, the Association of Colleges, to discuss this year's claim. An initial offer of 2.5% was rejected by the trade union side.

The unions submitted a catch up claim for 6% or £1,500, whichever is the greater. The claim covers 250,000 FE workers in England including lecturers, learning support staff, cleaners, managers, caterers, librarians, security and lab technicians, and would establish a £7.38 an hour minimum wage.

The employers' body, the Association of Colleges (AOC), makes a recommendation to individual FE colleges on pay. Despite this, many colleges pick and choose recommended terms and conditions. Last year, UNISON research showed that 64% of colleges failed to honour the underpinning negotiated for the lowest paid staff. Some colleges even failed to offer any annual increase.

Joint trade union side secretary and UNISON national officer, Chris Fabby said: 'On Wednesday, further education staff across the country will be joining together to show the employers that they mean business. After years of below inflation pay awards, it is high time our members' hard work was valued accordingly.

'The days of feeling the pinch are gone. Our members tell us they are now feeling the punch of low pay, as are their families. They deserve a fair deal, and we are determined to get it for them.'

Barry Lovejoy, Joint Secretary of the Trade Union Side and UCU head of FE said: 'College lecturers, backed by other college staff, deliver high quality education for their local communities but their pay is less than that of school teachers. Pay must be improved to attract a new generation of talented young lecturers'.