TENS OF thousands of lecturers in further education colleges across England and Wales are set to vote in the next two weeks on whether to accept a proposed pay and conditions package.
A small majority of union negotiators from the college lecturers’ Natfhe union and members of the union national executive wanted to recommend the deal. But lay delegates representing further education lecturers rejected their decision.
Natfhe’s leadership will be relying on three factors to secure backing for the deal, which was negotiated with our employers’ organisation, the Association of Colleges. One is the positive spin put on the proposals by the union leadership, which would put Alastair Campbell to shame!
Another is that many branches and members have not yet seen the arguments put by the left in the union explaining how bad the deal is. The third is that the leadership demobilised members during the spring and summer when they allowed the campaign of strike action to peter out.
Some lecturers could get as little as 1 percent this year if the deal is accepted. The proposed pay rises over the next two years barely match inflation. They would fail to move us towards our goal of parity with teachers.
Even worse, the proposed deal would effectively enshrine performance related pay and local negotiations on pay and conditions.
The employers’ organisation has refused to guarantee that there will be automatic progression for lecturers through the new pay scales or that their member colleges will honour the agreement.
Employers in 40 percent of colleges have yet to fully meet the last national deal on pay.
Lecturers should vote to reject the deal and instruct our negotiators to get a better offer backed up by the threat of industrial action. Lecturers opposed to the deal need to ensure that over the next week or so the leaflets explaining how bad this deal is get circulated in every college.
We need to recall branch meetings to discuss the outcome of last week’s special conference which rejected the deal.
Reballots have opened the way to bigger struggle