Pay bargaining group sets the table for talks

The first steps have been taken towards re-establishing national bargaining over pay and working conditions in Scottish colleges.

Trade unions have joined forces with the leaders of college regions to form a new group to try to pave the way for negotiations on pay and other related issues.

The National Bargaining Development Group will meet for the first time on Monday.

In addition to regional leads Ian McKay (Edinburgh), Linda McTavish (Lanarkshire) and Ken Milroy (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire), representatives of the EIS, GMB, Unison and Unite unions will also be at the table.

"I am glad that unions and management have agreed to meet and discuss bargaining in the sector in this way and explore possibilities," Mr McKay told TESS.

"Dialogue is always helpful and we will be looking too at other bargaining models elsewhere. We have a shared agenda to do the best for the sector, its students and those who work there."

He said that he and his colleagues were also grateful to Colleges Scotland for forming a "professional sounding board" with HR and management professionals to assist the group.

A return to national bargaining was one of the recommendations made in the Griggs review of college governance, published in January 2012.

Education secretary Michael Russell said he had taken the Griggs review into consideration and asked Mr McKay to lead the work on pay bargaining.

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