UNISON says Glasgow colleges are ‘bottom of the class’ when it comes to paying the Living Wage

UNISON today (Tuesday) called for the Scottish Government to intervene to force two rogue colleges to pay their low paid workers the Living Wage.

Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde colleges are the last of Scotland’s twenty national bargaining colleges where workers are paid less than the living wage of £9 per hour. This affects college cleaners, caterers, security staff and others who are the lowest paid in the further education sector.

UNISON’s campaigning on this issue has ensured all twenty of the colleges are Living Wage accredited and, in 18 of the 20 colleges, workers in outsourced services are also paid the Living Wage.

However, the union says it is vital Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde stop failing their staff and start paying workers fairly. Other colleges in the sector have used their own funds to ensure low paid workers are paid the Living Wage; City of Glasgow, New College Lanarkshire and Ayrshire College are recent examples.

Collette Bradley, chair of UNISON Scotland’s Further Education branch, said:

“For two of Glasgow’s colleges to be bottom of the class in terms of paying the Living Wage is a damning indictment of their commitment to the Fair Work Agenda and speaks volumes about their attitude towards low pay and women workers. It is clear that these colleges are paying no heed to their paymasters in the Scottish Government and need to be brought quickly into line.”

Chris Greenshields, branch secretary of UNISON Scotland’s further education branch, said:

“The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be a Fair Work nation by 2025, but unless serious changes are made it’s difficult to see how this will happen.

“In January 2016, colleges were aware that accreditation was required by December 2016. As both Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde missed this deadline, many workers are still languishing on poverty pay today. The Scottish Government needs to do more now to ensure these colleges pay workers the Living Wage they are owed.”

John Gallacher, UNISON Scottish organiser, said:

“The Scottish Government couldn’t have been clearer over the last few years about its commitment to the Living Wage and what was expected of colleges. These two colleges have managed to find a way of turning what should have been a good news story in Living Wage week into yet another embarrassing headline for the further education sector in Scotland.

“We have fairly new principals in both of these colleges and we are calling for them to take immediate action to right the wrongs of their predecessors”.

Notes to editors:

• Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde are the only two colleges preventing Scotland’s further education sector becoming the first sector to pay the Living Wage to both directly employed workers and outsourced workers.

• Living Wage and accreditation.

• Minister’s letter of Guidance (section 61)

• Colleges Scotland response to delay in implementation of Living wage accreditation in February 2017

For further information:

  • Collette Bradley, chair of UNISON Scotland Further Education Branch, 07989 092 189
  • John Gallacher, UNISON Scottish organiser, 07904 342 426
  • Chris Greenshields, branch secretary of UNISON Scotland’s further education branch
    07957 366 903