UCU and AoC continue pay talks

A pay deal for college staff is yet to be agreed for the next academic year.

The University and College Union (UCU) and other unions have begun talks with the Association of Colleges (AoC) over staff pay for the 2014/15 academic year.

But in a recent session, no agreement was reached. It comes as a dispute over last year’s pay deal remains ongoing.

A UCU spokesperson said: “The 2014/15 pay talks opened on April 8 at a meeting of the National Joint Forum (NJF) where the trade union side presented their claim of three per cent or £1,040 whichever is the greater, a recommendation to colleges to become Living Wage employers and pay protection for a minimum of three years in line with school teachers (in restructures and re-grading etc).

“Disappointingly, the AoC insisted it was unable to make an offer on the day. However, it gave a commitment to bring an offer that was ‘without strings attached’ to the next meeting of the NJF on May 16. The AoC also said it was sympathetic to the call for a Living Wage but needed to consult further with members.”

Marc Whitworth, the AoC’s acting director of employment policy and services, said: “Our discussions with the trade unions are at an early stage but we intend to make a pay offer when we meet in May following further consultation with our members.”

The UCU has said it had not given up on its efforts to secure a pay deal for the 2013/14 academic year, which will end in July.

Meanwhile, further industrial action at sixth form colleges has still not been ruled out after staff walked out at the end of last month.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in sixth form colleges took part in strike action on March 26 in protest against proposed changes to pay and conditions – particularly the proposed introduction of performance-related pay for teachers.

Speaking on the day of the strike, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said further strikes could take place in the summer if there wasn’t movement in talks with the government.