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Further education unions reject 1% pay offer

13 May 2009

The six further education unions, ACM, ATL, GMB, UCU, UNISON and UNITE*, representing 250,000 staff working in colleges in England have formally rejected an offer of 1% from the employers' association, the Association of Colleges (AoC).

The offer also did not include any underpinning, which would guarantee a minimum salary rise for the lowest paid workers in English colleges.

The unions submitted a 'catch up and match up' claim of 6% with a guaranteed £2,000 rise for the lowest paid staff to compensate for years of below average pay rises and to bring college staff pay in line with comparable professions.

Barry Lovejoy, joint secretary of the trade union negotiating side and UCU head of further education, said: 'We have heard lots of rhetoric about the value all political parties place on further education and its ability to get the lives of people suffering in the recession back on track.

'However, yet again, the employers have chosen to completely undermine the sector's chance of really making that difference. Now, more than ever, we need staff to be fairly remunerated for the crucial work they will play in helping the country get back on its feet. The message to the employers is clear – go back, think again and come back with a decent pay offer.'
Joint Trade union side secretary and UNISON national officer for FE, Chris Fabby said: 'This offer is not enough to help our members working in FE cope with the high cost of food and fuel in the tough year ahead. It is a huge disappointment that there is no underpinning. The security of a minimum salary uplift is really important to the lowest paid workers as 1% of nothing will always mean nothing.
'We submitted a catch up and match up claim, and the AoC need to come back with a more realistic offer at our next meeting. Further education colleges are going to be crucial to building a way out of the recession and you cannot run a first class service on poverty pay.'
Last updated: 11 December 2015