Higher education employers make final response to unions’ pay claim

Higher education (HE) employers have made a “final offer” in response to the joint unions’ pay claim, it has been revealed.

The public services union, UNISON, said it will consider the offer of a pay rise of between 3.65 per cent and 1.82 per cent for staff on pay spine points three to 16 (£22,017 a year), and 1.8 per cent for those on points 17 and above.

The proposed deal will also include deleting the lowest pay band – point two. This will mean that the lowest rate of pay will be £9.17 per hour for those on a 35-hour week. The current living wage rate, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, is £9 per hour.

However, a decision will not be made until later this month when the higher education service group meets on 07 May.

The offer builds on HE employers’ initial offer of 1.5 per cent across all elements of pay, as well as a 2.5 per cent pay rise for the lowest paid staff.

But union bosses have yet to blink, commenting that the latest offer “falls far below the unions’ claim”.

Earlier this month, UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “While the employers made an increase to their opening offer, this still falls far short of the fair claim made by unions.

“As negotiations continue, the unions will push for an improved deal at the next meeting later this month.”

The failure to come to a deal may result in hundreds of FE staff taking strike action over pay. Last month, UNISON said around 11,000 FE college employees – including administration workers, learning support staff and those in finance – may vote on strike action over national pay, which was described as “derisory”.

Commenting on strike action, Mr Richards said: “These are among the lowest paid workers in colleges.

“Many are struggling to make ends meet or even afford food. This pay offer is derisory – it’s time employers gave staff a decent pay rise.”

Leave a Reply