Further education unions reject pay offer

Further education unions reject pay offer

Further education unions have rejected a below-inflation pay offer proposed by employers at talks today (May 6th).

Six unions representing 250,000 members working in colleges across England in jobs such as cleaning, catering and admin as well as professional roles are seeking a pay rise of 6% or £1,500 - whichever is the greater - to guarantee the lowest-paid workers a minimum wage of £7.38. However, employers have come back with an offer of 2.5%.

"It is just not enough," said joint trade union side secretary and UNISON national officer Chris Fabby. "We reject this offer outright."

"This year our members have been struggling to cope with huge hikes in the cost of essentials like fuel, food and housing.

"The employers must get back around the negotiating table with a more realistic offer," he stressed.

Lower paid workers at further education colleges can earn as little as £12,738 a year and a second below-inflation pay deal in a row could lead to understaffing as employees leave to find better paying jobs and potential recruits stay away due to poor pay.

Unions also criticised the employers' proposal for its failure to remedy the 6% pay gap between teaching staff in colleges and schools, or to address the widespread dissatisfaction with poor pay in the face of increasing workloads.

As well as today's paltry offer, Unison research has revealed that two-thirds of further education employers have still not honoured the deal struck with unions last year.