College workers vote overwhelmingly to return to national bargaining, says UNISON

Date: Monday 17 March 2014

UNISON, the union representing further education workers in Scotland, said its members have voted in favour of a return to national bargaining.

Union members were consulted on plans to move away from local negotiations and instead to have Scotland-wide bargaining on pay and conditions. More than 90 per cent voted in favour of the plans.

Chris Greenshields, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Further Education Committee, said: “There is a huge disparity in pay and conditions across Scotland’s colleges and this is not in the best interests of staff, students or the further education sector.

“Our members have voted overwhelmingly for change and national bargaining brings us the opportunity to rectify some of the inequalities which exist in the sector.”

Shirley Sephton, a trainer within the further education sector, said: “We have lost countless numbers of experienced staff within further education over the last few years.

“We need to be able to attract and retain high quality staff to Scotland’s colleges and they must be paid appropriately and enjoy fair conditions of employment. Despite the Scottish Government’s support for public sector workers to be paid the living wage, many colleges ignored this. National bargaining provides us with an opportunity to address this.”

Emma Phillips, Regional Organiser for UNISON Scotland, said: “For a long time, our members working in the further education sector have quite rightly felt like the poor relations. Many of our members are doing the same or similar jobs but being paid very differently.

“The rot first set in during the nineties when national bargaining was abolished and each individual college started to negotiate their own pay and conditions. Now each of our colleges have different pay scales, grading structures and terms and conditions. A return to national bargaining will set us on the right path to changing this.”


Notes to editors

  1. UNISON Scotland is the largest union in further education.

For more information contact:

  • Emma Phillips, Regional Organiser for UNISON, on 07538 101 221
  • Chris Greenshields, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Further Education Committee, on 07722 329 223.