Date: Sunday 24 May 2015
UNISON today calls for Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education, to intervene in national pay negotiations for further education staff, which have all but broken down.
UNISON leaders are astonished at the responses they have recovered from further education employers.
UNISON lodged its pay claim on 3 February 2015. The union is looking to agree a new pay settlement to commence on 1 April 2015. However, negotiators were astonished when employers said they needed to get the agreement of all 27 college boards before they could progress any talks and they estimate a further delay until at least October 2015.
UNISON has responded that unless employers can return with a something on the table in June 2015 then the union will consider industrial action.
Chris Greenshields, chair of the UNISON Scotland further education committee said:
“National negotiations have become farcical. College bosses say they cannot respond to UNISON’s reasonable claim until October at the earliest.
“Our members, who have delivered significant organisational change and who have suffered big job losses and increased workload, have lost patience. There is a meeting in June and, unless there is a firm proposal, then we are headed for industrial unrest in this key sector.”
John Gallacher, UNISON Scottish organiser with responsibility for FE, said:
“The further education employers and Scottish Funding Council are saying there is no money in the sector, yet colleges have a £100 million nest egg hidden in arm’s length trusts.
“This is public money and UNISON calls on Angela Constance to get a small part of that very large fund on to the bargaining table to address UNISON’s reasonable pay claim.
“Student attainment in FE is very high thanks to the hard work and commitment of our members.
“It is perfectly reasonable that this should be rewarded.”
Danny Phillips, UNISON communications officer, 0141 342 2877 / 07944 664 110
John Gallacher, UNISON Scottish Organiser, 07904 342426 / 0141 342 2824
Notes for Editors
1. UNISON claim is for £1,000 flat rate with effect from 1 April 2015. This would cost £4.4 million.
2. There are 4,443 FTE support staff in FE Scotland (3,526 FTE Lecturing staff) in 27 colleges.
3. UNISON is the largest trade union in Scotland.