Disappointment, Anger and Outrage, to quote just a few, were the emotions expressed by each and every one of the six Further Education unions following a 1.5% contemptible pay rise offer by the college employers” body, the Association of Colleges (AoC).
The FE unions, who represent college lecturers, managers, support and manual staff, unanimously rejected the rise at a meeting held on March 21st after stating the offer was derisory and described it as a slap in the face for college staff. The offer from the AoC was in response to a joint trade union claim of 7% for 2006 / 7. Employers claimed that colleges were unable to pay anything more because of financial uncertainty.
Pressing for Updated Offer
All of the outraged trade unions have committed themselves to work together to launch an immediate campaign within their memberships to press for an updated offer. University and college lecturers” union NATFHE is the largest trade union and professional association for lecturers, trainers, researchers and managers working in further and higher education throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They are playing a big part in the pay rise protest and have stressed that the AoC and the government need to take notice of the growing anger amongst practitioners within the sector.
NATFHE have decided to take immediate action in the hope it will encourage the AoC to make a realistic pay offer. However, if this realistic pay target is not reached then the prospect of further action involving a wider number of FE unions becomes a real possibility.
Attempt to Accommodate “Thrown Back in Our Face” says NATFHE
Barry Lovejoy, joint secretary of the trade union side and NATFHE’s Head of Colleges, said: “The trade unions indicated their clear willingness to discuss flexible means of achieving a reasonable offer in the context of a tight financial situation. Our attempt to be accommodating was thrown back in our face with a derisory offer.”
Christine Lewis, joint secretary of the trade union side and national education official for UNISON, said: “At a time when the Foster report has highlighted low levels of morale in colleges and poor rewards for staff, this offer is quite extraordinary. Whatever the further education white paper holds for the sector, it will be difficult to keep staff on board in this climate of anger.”
WDIE voices its support for the lecturers actions in support of their pay claim. The difficulties faced by the lecturers are immense and need urgently addressing, as part of safeguarding the future of further education.
Keep up to date on FE pay deal talks here at FE News!
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