Cap busting pay deal for Scottish Colleges


Following several weeks of negotiations on pay and leave in the Scottish  National Joint Negotiating Committee for Support Staff in Further Education Colleges, at a meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday 29 June 2017, a final position was reached between Support Staff unions ( UNISON, UNITE, GMB) and Employers’ representatives. The proposals  will see all Support Staff in colleges receive a flat rate pay rise of £425 with effect from 1 April 2017  plus 5 days’ additional annual leave from the same date. UNISON will be recommending the deal to its members:

John Gallacher, UNISON Head of Bargaining said,:

“ These recent discussions prove that the national bargaining machinery is Scottish Further Education can deliver positive outcomes for staff and colleges through rationale and mature talks. Hopefully it is a watershed moment and we can move forward jointly to make progress with pace on what is a heavy agenda on job evaluation,pay and grading and terms and conditions for Support Staff.  However, achievement of a fully comprehensive pay and grading model and set of conditions of service for Support Staff across all Scottish Colleges will require investment by Government and the Funding Council.”

Chris Greenshields said :

“ This proposal breaks the Government’s 1 % pay cap in the public sector, but It is  still not overly generous given inflation at 2.8% and recent trends. Public Sector workers’ pay has been held back for years. Whilst in Scottish colleges this is the third of three decent settlements in 2015, 2016 and this year, pay ahs still not kept up with prices. The Scottish Government needs to seriously review its position across the board of pay bargaining, as was discussed this week in Westminster, and fair pay re-introduced across the Scottish public sector for 2018 settlements”

Shirley Sephton, Vice Chair , UNISON said:

“ If there is to be a generational shift on how college staff are deployed and remunerated any money spent should be seen as a transformational investment in Scotland’s future , not a source of further efficiency and austere approaches to negotiations. Scotland’s FE students deserve the best support services available and our members are committed and motivated to deliver quality in the sector. This is a reasonable first step , but there is a long way to go”


  1. The NJNC for Support Staff covers 20 out of 26 of Scotland’s FE colleges; some 5,500 staff ( finance, ICT, Library and Information, Student Support, Guidance, catering , cleaning, estates etc.)
  2. 2015 pay talks saw industrial action by EIS, and 2016 saw national strikes by UNISON, GMB and EIS.
  3. Up to 2015 pay and conditions were determined at individual college level.
  4. 2015 saw a settlement for Support Staff of £300 for those earning up to £30,000k and 1% above that; 2016 , following industrial action by EIS, UNISON and GMB saw a settlement of £550.
  5. SG Pay Policy for 2017 recommends £400 up to £22000 and 1% above.



John Gallacher, Scottish Organiser 07904 342 426