More strikes could follow says UNISON as college support staff continue their campaign for fair pay.
College support staff across Scotland went on strike yesterday (Tuesday) in what was a watershed day for further education. The move caused widespread disruption and saw colleges closed, classes cancelled, night classes cancelled and nurseries closed. The dispute is the result of college bosses awarding lecturing staff a £450 flat rate rise, while some college support staff were only offered a flat rate of £230. College support staff (administration, admissions, funding, catering, cleaning, advisors, security, classroom assistants, technicians and others) are calling for fair pay and parity with their lecturing colleagues.
Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON Scotland’s further education committee, said:
“It should never have come to this. In 2015, every single support worker and every single lecturer received £400 as a pay rise. The employers agreed an ‘equality clause’. What is different in 2016? Why should one portion of staff get £450, another £400 and yet another £230? It is a divisive negotiating strategy and UNISON will only accept fair and equal treatment of all.”
John Gallacher, Scottish organiser, said:
“Some 2500 UNISON members from Stornoway to Stranraer answered the union’s call for support. Our members were forced into strike action by divisive management tactics. We say no more. Do the right thing and pay the same rise as paid to lecturers in May 2016.
“Taking strike action is a last resort for our members but we cannot rule out further strike action if college bosses fail to return to get back around the negotiating table.”
Shirley Sephton, vice chair of Scotland’s further education committee, said:
“The employers’ propaganda over this day of action has been downright misleading and untrue. Support staff, on different salaries, will not receive the same percentage pay offer in 2016 and no lecturer receives the same percentage as support staff. A support worker on £26k is being offered £230 this year (2.4% if you add the 2015 settlement to the 2016 offer). A lecturer on the same amount has received £850 (3.3 %). There is nothing reasonable or fair about the FE employers’ position in these pay talks.”
Notes to editors
For further information please contact:
•John Gallacher, UNISON lead officer for FE, 07904 342 426
•Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON Scotland’s further education committee, 07521 914 357
• Shirley Sephton, vice chair of UNISON Scotland’s further education committee, 0777 891 1123