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UCU calls for 'full and serious' pay offer to avoid further strikes

The University and College Union has called on the Association of Colleges to make a “full and serious” pay offer to FE trade unions at their next meeting to avoid further strike action.

Talks between the two sides ended without agreement yesterday, with the UCU saying it was “disappointed” the AoC failed to make an offer.

Andrew Harden, the union’s head of FE, urged AoC to make a “full and serious offer” at their next meeting on May 16. “The ball is in their court," he said. "Their members are saying they want to keep national pay talks going but they need to demonstrate that commitment by putting an offer on the table.”

UCU members at FE colleges took strike action last December over a 0.7 per cent pay offer. The union is calling for an extra £1,040 or three per cent, whichever is higher.

Last weekend the union held its FE sector conference at which all eight motions were about pay.

Although none of the motions calling for immediate strike action were passed, the union said it remains an option and there is a growing unease among its members.

Mr Harden said: “Our members are starting to ask serious questions about the efficacy of national bargaining when so few colleges implement the recommendations.

“I haven’t seen this strength of feeling in the nine years I have been here. I think employers need to take this seriously.”

The Association of Colleges, which negotiates on behalf of its member colleges and makes pay recommendations to them, said it was unable to comment on the discussions at such an early stage of what it called a “very sensitive period of consultation and negotiation”.

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