Members of the Unison support staff union have rejected colleges' pay offer for the 2019-20 academic year.
The union has said it has now set up a working group to look into how members in the further education sector can best campaign for better pay. It is not yet clear whether it will lead to strike action.
In November last year, the Association of Colleges (AoC), which represents college employers in the pay negotiations, recommended a pay increase of 1 per cent, or £250 – whichever was greater. AoC recommendations are not binding for colleges.
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This offer came in response to a union claim for an extra £1 per hour for all pay grades, an extra five days of annual leave and colleges to pay the living wage – as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation – as a minimum.
Unison consulted members on the offer this month, and AoC's offer, tabled on behalf of its member colleges, was subsequently rejected. The working group will now look at “how staff in colleges will demonstrate their intense dissatisfaction with yet another poor pay recommendation that many colleges will not implement”.
Last year, support staff at 14 colleges were balloted in a dispute over pay. A survey conducted by Unison ahead of the 2018-19 pay negotiations found that, among the 472 members who responded, 12.7 per cent struggled to pay for food and one in 50 had used a food bank.
Last month, the University and College Union's Andrew Harden wrote in Tes that college staff deserved a better pay rise.
The AoC has been contacted for comment.