Buried under paperwork

Overworked and underpaid

The drafting group of the Welsh negotiating committee further education (WNCFE) met on Friday 15 March and discussed UCU's five-part claim to amend the national workload agreement. Members from HR agreed to draft wording into a drafting group proposal to be considered by the WNCFE. The drafted proposal was not ready for the meeting on the 22 March and therefore the meeting had to be postponed to the 11 April.

We have written to the employers asking them to agree an extension on the ballot of three  months to prevent us from having to notify of strike action this week. The ballot closed on the 19 October and therefore any action which relies on that ballot needs to be taken before the 19 April 2019. At the time of writing we have not received a reply from ColegauCymru - CollegesWales (CC).

In previous meetings with ColegauCymru (CC) to discuss the claim UCU submitted on workload - addressing the maximum number of weekly teaching hours, HE, tariffs for quality assurance, tariffs for course leadership roles and where new curricula is being delivered by a member of staff and - we agreed the following schedule:

  • CC have agreed to produce a paper outlining the scope for drafting group to draft changes to national workload agreement. This paper will be ready for circulation to the joint trade union (JTU) side by 5 March 2019 to allow discussion before the main meeting with CC already scheduled for 7 March. 

  • week commencing 11 March 2019: drafting group will meet to make drafting amendments to national workload agreement

  • week commencing 18 March 2019: further meeting with CC to consider, amend and agree the drafting group amendments to the national agreement

  • UCU consultative ballot on whether to accept the changes and end dispute week commencing 25 March - 5 April 2019.

  • 8 April 2019: formal communication on  outcome of ballot with CC and JTUs.

UCU members in 12 FE colleges in Wales had previously voted to take action in ballots over pay and workload. The two industrial action ballots were called after CC offered 1% in response to the joint unions' claim of a 7.5% pay increase and refused to negotiate over workoad.

Following the Welsh government's announcement of further money to ensure that pay parity with school teachers, the unions accepted a revised pay offer and planned strike action was suspended as CC then agreed to enter talks over workload.

What can you do?

  1. Keep up to date with the latest UCU pay and workload campaign newsletters and attend local branch meetings, to discuss the issues with your fellow branch members.
  2. Let your branch officer know whether you will support a campaign, including industrial action, to address the issues of workload in your college.
  3. Talk to your colleagues who are not members of UCU and encourage them to join UCU and add their voice to the campaign, they can join online at: www.ucu.org.uk/join

Information

Managing workloads - UCU Wales information sheet [549kb]

Last updated: 27 March 2019