College staff face wait for news on annual pay rise

The Association of Colleges' response to the unions' annual pay claim, submitted in April, is not expected until September

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College staff face a four-month wait to find out whether the unions' pay claim for 2017-18 will be accepted.

The National Joint Forum (NJF), made up of the unions representing college staff, submitted its pay claim in April.

A meeting between the unions and the Association of Colleges (AoC) took place on 17 May, but the AoC reportedly said it was not in a position to respond at this point, as there was no clear concensus among its members.

The AoC will next meet with the NJF – which represents the University and College Union (UCU), Unison, ATL, AMiE, Unite and GMB – on 19 September to give its response.

The unions are proposing a pay rise of RPI plus 3 per cent, with a minimum uplift of £900 for the lowest-paid staff. Taking into account inflation, which stood at 3.5 per cent as of June, this would amount to a 6.5 per cent increase.

'Working positively and productively' 

Other proposals set out by the NJF include an increase in FE teachers’ contracted hours for preparations, and a minimum CPD entitlement of 30 hours a year for all staff. Last year, unions representing college staff voted to accept a 1 per cent pay increase from the AoC.

Earlier this month, Tes revealed that the AoC had decided not to scrap national bargaining following an internal review. At present, each college decides whether to adopt the deal agreed by the AoC and the NJF.

An AoC spokesperson said: “The Association of Colleges has taken part in regular meetings of the NJF officers group over the last few months. We will continue to work positively and productively with the unions to represent our respective members collectively and position the further education sector effectively in the longer term.”

A UCU spokesperson said: "The next meeting to discuss the claim is on 19 September and we are expecting an offer from the AoC then. We will be consulting with members in the new term and expect things to move forward when AoC make an offer."

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