UCU responds to colleges' 'insulting' 1% pay offer

6 December 2018 | last updated: 7 December 2018

UCU has described a pay offer of just 1% from college representatives the Association of Colleges (AoC) as a 'wholly inadequate response' to the pay crisis in further education which has left teaching staff being paid £7,000 a year less than school teachers.

The union warned that the AoC risked becoming an irrelevant voice in the further education sector. Capital City College Group (CCCG) has agreed a 5% pay deal for over 1,700 staff and less than half of colleges followed the AoC's previous pay recommendation.

Last year the AoC said it regretted only making a 1% offer and has conceded that staff need a rise. The union said warm words were not a substitute for fair pay and warned the 1% offer sent a worrying signal to staff that they were not valued and that their employers were not prepared to fight their corner.

UCU members at six colleges walked out for two days last week in the first wave of strikes over pay. Ballots are now open at another 26 colleges and will close on Wednesday 19 December. Unison has announced it will be launching a ballot of its members in English further education colleges in January.

UCU head of policy and campaigns Matt Waddup said: 'This insulting pay offer is a wholly inadequate response to the crisis in our colleges. The offer will annoy staff who need their employers to be fighting their corner as the pay gap between them and school teachers widens further. It is not right that staff at one college can receive a 5% increase while their colleagues down the road get nothing for doing the same work.

'The AoC cannot continue to believe that warm words are a substitute for fair pay and they risk becoming an irrelevance. This offer increases the likelihood of more waves of strikes after Christmas and puts the ball firmly in the court of colleges who are prepared to follow CCCG's lead and actually do something to tackle the pay crisis in further education.'

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