Students could suffer if college strikes go ahead

The
Association of Colleges says Unison’s demands for pay increases and threats of
strike action could damage students.

This
week, Unison said it will ballot its members in further education colleges in
England and Wales for strike action in the autumn.

The
AoC said while it recognises many staff are low paid, colleges do not have the
spare cash to meet the union’s demands and any additional funding over the 2.3
per cent increase offered will need to come from government.

Ivor
Jones, AoC director of employment policy, said the Association increased its
offer for staff who earn less than £11,000 a year which will, in many cases,
raise their hourly rate to £5 per hour – Unison’s target.

"The
2.3 per cent pay offer put forward reflects what colleges around the country
have told us is affordable. Colleges have to meet their pay bills largely from
their core funding which remains at 90 per cent of 1995-96 levels.

"If
colleges implement an unrealistic offer, redundancies or cuts to services to
students result, because there is no spare cash in the system – that is up to government.

"We
remain committed to a fair deal for all our staff and have been working closely
with our unions, including Unison, for many months, including on a joint
submission to the Chancellor for funds for fair pay."

By Quentin Reade

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