Keep them fit if you want morale in better shape

STAFF AT Kilmarnock College enjoy a free health and fitness programme at lunchtimes and after work. It is all part of a "positive" industrial relations strategy, according to Mick Roebuck, the principal.

The management hopes to strike a similar pay deal with its staff for the next three years as it has for the past three. This has led to an award of 1 per cent above inflation in each year, amounting to 4.5 per cent this year.

But, Mr Roebuck concedes, the deal was based on "growth and affordability", which means the college could have pulled out if financial circumstances had changed.

Fortunately Kilmarnock's all-important student numbers, on which the Scottish Office grant is based, have grown by 35 per cent over three years.

This, together with other moves such as the fitness programme, greater flexibility over summer holidays, and staff working from home if they are not teaching has "created a spirit of reasonableness in the college", Mr Roebuck says.

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