Scottish college workers reject pay offer by 92%, says UNISON

UNISON, the union for further education staff, has lodged a formal dispute with college bosses after its members overwhelmingly rejected the latest pay offer by 92 per cent.

The pay offer, a real-terms pay cut, falls far short of rocketing rates of inflation and UNISON will be consulting its members on next steps – including industrial action.

Chris Greenshields, UNISON Scotland’s Further Education Branch Secretary, said: “Our dedicated college staff have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure that colleges remained open, services for staff and students did not deteriorate and that students were able to complete their courses. This was often in very difficult circumstances and the least they expected was a pay rise which matched inflation. Instead, they are being asked to accept cuts to jobs, increased workloads and a real-terms pay cut which will leave them significantly worse off than last year.”

Collette Bradley, UNISON Scotland Further Education Branch Chair added: “Further education workers have spoken clearly – they want the college bosses to get back round the negotiating table, to value their work and to give them the fair pay rise they deserve. We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis with ever-rising fuel bills and household costs and it’s a slap-in-the-face to hard working college staff to be offered a real-terms pay cut”.

Lorcan Mullen, UNISON Scotland’s head of further education, said: “UNISON members in services like cleaning, administration, student support and campus nurseries deserve a proper pay rise, but in these times they are forced to fight hard to protect the value of the pay they already have. We will be campaigning alongside all other further education unions to demand a significant improvement in this offer, and call on the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament to support and resource pay justice for hard-working providers of public services.”

Notes to editors

1. The pay offer was £850, plus a one-off payment of £150 to thank staff for efforts through the pandemic. While this offer exceeds last year’s Scottish Public Sector Pay Policy, it still falls well below galloping rises in the cost of living. The percentage equivalents for the cash sums outlined in the pay offer range from 2.1% to 4.3% depending on grade, but current inflation rates range from 5.5% to 7.8% and continuing to rise.

2. The pay settlement date for Scotland’s colleges is much later than in the health service, local authorities and other areas with large numbers of UNISON members. As inflation has soared in recent weeks and months, the real terms value of live pay offers has changed significantly.

UNISON Contact 

Lorcan Lorcan Mullen, head of higher & further education: 07903 853116
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07944 664110