Members of the UCU college union in further education are preparing for an industrial action ballot over pay. Any action would be in opposition to the 2.55 percent pay offer we have rejected for this year.
We are also preparing a claim for next year for an above inflation pay offer, common conditions of service in colleges and a commitment from managements to deal with escalating workloads and stress.
Some in the press have tried to portray our decision to ballot as jeopardising the pay offer for low paid support workers, whose unions have, unfortunately, indicated their acceptance of the current below inflation offer.
This is a divisive argument aimed at undermining UCU members’ resolve to reject the pay cut that Gordon Brown is attempting to force on all public sector workers.
In fact, there would be nothing to stop the AoC (the employers’ organisation) from recommending that college managements make interim payments to admin and support workers pending a settlement of the dispute.
Reps need to clearly present the arguments to reject the offer and work hard to overcome the unevenness in and between colleges.
By fighting for united action around a high profile national pay campaign, preferably alongside other public sector unions, we can help our branches to be better organised and stronger.