The University and College Union (UCU) today (Tuesday) welcomed a pay deal which will see most lecturers at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale awarded a 9.2% increase in pay.
An overwhelming 98% of UCU members at Hopwood voted to accept the offer, which will arrive in this month’s pay packets and is back dated to August. The deal is worth 9.2% for most lecturers.
For new lecturers who are at the bottom of the spine and for Skills Development Coaches the deal is worth 20.25%, over £5k. All pay awards are consolidated. The deal also includes a commitment to creating a joint workload agreement with UCU before the end of the academic year.
Staff at Hopwood Hall called off strike action earlier this year due to meaningful pay negotiations taking place. Elsewhere, more than 30 colleges across England have seen up to 10days of strike action over the past two months over pay, in what has been the biggest wave of industrial action English further education has ever seen.
Many disputes are still live and UCU is calling on other colleges to follow Hopwood and make pay offers that help staff deal with the cost of living crisis if they want to avoid any further disruption.
This summer, UCU produced a report that shows the vast majority of college staff are financially insecure, impacting the mental health of more than eight in 10 with many being forced to skip meals and restrict hot water use to save money. Seven in 10said they will leave the sector unless pay and working conditions improve.
The Department for Education has announced £1.6bn in extra funding for further education and UCU estimates that colleges already have an additional £400m that is available to spend on staff compared with 2019-20.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:
‘This is a huge win for our members at Hopwood Hall and will mean staff have more money in their pockets to deal with the cost of living crisis and soaring energy bills. If other colleges want to avoid any more strike action over the coming months then they also need to make pay offers that address these issues. Otherwise, they will face further disruption.’