In response to the 2019/20 pay claim AoC Employers’ side welcomed the constructive dialogue with the trade unions, the effective joint work on the Love our Colleges campaign and the ongoing commitment to a shared vision for a workforce, properly recognised and rewarded.
AoC accepted that the trade union pay claim of £1 extra per hour and implementing the Foundation Living Wage was not unreasonable in relation to the widening pay gap between colleges and schools as well as other sectors over recent years. The financial challenge faced by colleges, because of continuing chronic under-investment, is resulting in few being able to set better than a break-even budget for 2019/20. This is resulting in pay constraints which are having a significant impact on the recruitment and retention of staff across the sector and which are unfair for staff.
AoC supported the move to the Foundation Living Wage being the minimum wage in Further Education, acknowledging that for some colleges this would need to be a goal to work towards. AoC proposed a joint funding request be made to DfE for a specific pay grant in order to implement the pay elements of the trade unions’ claim. This grant would need to be consolidated into any future comprehensive spending review.
AoC recommends that colleges work as quickly as possible towards paying the Foundation Living Wage as the minimum wage in FE, and those colleges who can afford to make more progress on pay now, should do so. In the meantime, colleges should continue to work creatively with unions at a local level on reviewing non-pay benefits such as holiday.