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28 July 2021

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Further education set for industrial action over pay

Brighton UCU pickett line Photo: Glenn Kelly

Brighton UCU pickett line Photo: Glenn Kelly   (Click to enlarge)

Liam Oldfield, UCU non-teaching staff rep

University and College Union (UCU) members in 15 further education (FE) colleges have voted to take industrial action over pay, with 89% in favour on a 62% turnout. This follows an insulting 1% pay recommendation made in autumn 2020. We all know a 1% rise is a pay cut in real terms. After years of below-inflation pay offers, we need a minimum 15%-18% pay rise to match the pay of ten years ago.

Last year colleges received increased funds of over 400 million. Where is the workers' fair share? Our pay in FE needs to be the same for comparable jobs in Higher Education and our schools. In England, FE teachers are paid on average 9,000 less than schoolteachers.

Additionally, it is only fair that the benefits are the same across the board for teaching and non-teaching staff. We do a lot more than educate! All those working in FE should be prioritised and treated as equal; no FE worker should be on a substandard term-time only contract, have less holiday entitlement, fewer benefits or inferior pension to those they work alongside.

The money is there for all workers, including care workers, NHS workers and other key workers. The government expects us, the so-called 'essential' workers, to settle for less and less. But it won't wash in FE, as the ballot result shows!

The 15 colleges voting to take action could be just the start. The recent UCU FE sector conference voted to campaign for a 10% pay rise for all plus pay bonuses for the additional work education staff carried out instead of external examiners this year. The conference decided to ballot all other colleges in England to join any industrial action in the autumn.

FE workers have voted to fight back on pay, and to fight for it on a coordinated, national basis - starting with the 15 colleges. UCU should now reach out to other unions, especially in education, but also the health unions fighting for a 15% pay rise, to discuss coordinating the fightback on pay as part of a wider strategy of fighting any attempt by the Tories to make workers' pay the cost of Covid.

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In The Socialist 28 July 2021:


News

Labour expulsions confirm need for new mass workers' party

'Pingdemic' exemptions

Tories and Labour fail on child poverty

Nationality and borders bill

London floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

Jobs and homes for all


International

Cuban protests - what do they represent?

Flood devastation in Europe

Israel: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

In brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI


Public sector pay

Public sector pay - Prepare for action!

Unite to fight Tory pay insults

New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

Government departments move to impose pay cuts

Further education set for industrial action over pay


Trade union

Sheffield Uni UCU fights archaeological dept closure

Bexley bin workers strike for better pay

Fight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights


Campaigns

Thousands march to Reclaim Pride

Tower Hamlets Labour backs Tory cuts

East London resident fighting eviction again

Barnsley 'Big Green Space' protest

Youth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched

Selling the Socialist

Scottish socialist breaks running record


Readers' Opinion

TV Review: Stateless blames mismanagement rather than system


 

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Related links:

Colleges:

triangleCollege strikes continue into third week

triangleWorkers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

triangleFight for the funding our schools and colleges need

triangleFurther education workers win pay rise in Wales

triangleNEU Special Conference: A fight for safety in schools is urgently needed

Education:

triangleHackney children's centres - more education cuts are devastating

triangleNational Education Union deputy general secretary election

triangleSocialist Party in Education: Public zoom meeting

triangleCoordinated FE strike against measly pay offer

Pay:

triangleScunthorpe scaffs strike for pay

triangleNapo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing

Workers:

triangleReinstate Gary Evans! Llanelli postal workers strike

UCU:

triangleUniversity workers ballot for strike action

Article dated 28 July 2021

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