UNISON suspend college strike planned for Wednesday 9 November

UNISON has suspended planned strikes in colleges across Scotland in an attempt to offer Colleges Scotland (Employers Association) another opportunity to return to the negotiating table.

UNISON held talks with Colleges Scotland at ACAS on 27 October and 2 November 2016, but were disappointed with the final offer. UNISON is also disappointed at the refusal of the employers to engage with a Scottish government request today to resume active negotiations.

UNISON’s further education committee made their decision to suspend strikes this afternoon (4 November 2016) so they can consult members on the revised offer and seek a renewed mandate in its campaign for equal pay for support staff. UNISON strongly recommend that college staff vote to reject the revised offer.

College support staff across Scotland, who are represented by UNISON, are in dispute after lecturing staff received a £450 flat rate rise in May 2016. Many college support staff were offered a flat rate of £230. UNISON has been asking for £450 flat rate payment for all support staff in 2016.

The revised offer presented to UNISON at ACAS is 1.5% pay increase for all support staff earning £22,000 per year or more; and £400 for all support staff earning less that £22,000. 

There are 5000 college support staff in Scotland they include people working in administration, admissions, funding, catering, cleaning, welfare advisors, security, classroom assistants, technicians and others. These tend to be lower paid jobs.  UNISON is calling for fair pay and a parity of pay increase with their lecturing colleagues. Despite staff going through complex college reorganisation Audit Scotland reported that staff continue to ‘exceed activity targets’.

Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON Scotland’s further education committee said, ‘This offer is divisive, unfair and should be rejected by UNISON members. We now have three different pay offers for a workforce of 10,000 staff. This revised offer at ACAS offer makes matters worse and the extra money put on the table favours the higher paid. We are suspending strike action, to allow all our members to reject the offer and bring the employer back to the negotiating table.”

Shirley Sephton, vice chair of UNISON Scotland’s education committee said, “The ACAS talks did not produce a penny more for most of our members, and the employers have again chosen to  reward the higher paid. This strike has been about fair pay for a low paid majority female workforce.”

John Gallacher, UNISON Scotland’s regional manager said ‘Further education employers seem more interested in taking on the unions than fairly rewarding their staff. We are asking our members to back us in continuing the campaign for fair pay. Hopefully this hiatis gives the employers the chance to resolve this damaging dispute at a key stage in the academic year”


-1.5% pay settlelment for somone on £22,000 would receive £230;

-1.5% pay settlement for someone on £30,000 would  recieve £350

-1.5% pay settlement for someone on £37,000 would recieve £455

UNISON Contacts

John Gallacher, lead officer for further education, 07904 342 426

Chris Greenshields, chair further education committee, 07521 914 357

Shirley Sephton, vice chair further education committee, 0777 891 1123

Danny Phillips, communications officer,  07944 664 110