FE workers in Scotland urged to accept offer to break public sector pay cap

Scotland Scottish flagUnion members working in Scottish further education colleges are being urged to accept a new deal which will see them receive a £425 pay rise.

The offer to some 5,500 workers at 20 of Scotland’s 26 FE colleges would see GMB, UNISON and Unite members receive:

  • a £425 a year pay rise for all full-time support staff, and pro rata for part-time workers;
  • five extra days annual leave, bringing the entitlement to 44 days;
  • a minimum wage that equal the living wage (£8.45 an hour).

If accepted, the pay increase will be backdated to 1 April.

“This proposal breaks the government’s 1% pay cap in the public sector,” says college worker Chris Greenshields who chairs the UNISON Scotland FE committee. “It is still not overly generous given inflation at 2.8% and recent trends. Public sector workers’ pay has been held back for years.”

He said that, while the proposal represents “the third of three decent settlements in 2015, 2016 and this year” in Scottish colleges, “pay has still not kept up with prices.”

UNISON Scotland head of bargaining John Gallagher said that the pay talks, which concluded last week, “prove that the national bargaining machinery in Scottish further education can deliver positive outcomes for staff and colleges through rational and mature talks.

“Hopefully, it is a watershed moment,” he added, which will allow unions and employers to move forward on outstanding issues including job evaluation, pay and grading and terms and conditions.

But he warned that achieving “a fully comprehensive pay and grading model and set of conditions of service for support staff across all Scottish colleges will require investment by government and the funding council.”

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