Further Education & Sixth Form Colleges Seminar

28 – 29 April 2017 – Holiday Inn Leicester, 129 St Nicholas Cir, Leicester LE1 5LX


Branches and colleges reps (England) are reminded to participate in the pay consultation the closing date is 4 November 2016.   The final 2016 National Joint Forum (NJF) meeting took place between the six college unions and the Association of Colleges (AoC) on 21 September 2016 to further consider the 2016/7 pay claim. At the meeting, the employers made a first and final offer of an increase of 1% on all salary points, or £250 whichever is the greater. (Full details of the offer below, along with an indicative pay scale)

The offer also includes information on; proposed joint guidance on closing the gender pay gap, a reminder for colleges on their obligations and joint agreement on the transfer of temporary staff to permanent contracts and a recommendation that colleges consider implementing the Living Wage.

UNISON expressed some disappointment at the offer, as it clearly did not meet the full aspirations of our claim. However, along with the other FE unions we have agreed to consult with members on the offer. The UNISON National Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges Committee met on 3 October to consider its recommendation. They agreed to recommend that we consult members as the offer is ‘the best that could be achieved by negotiation’.

The committee acknowledged that for many staff the biggest issue is whether their college will implement the AoC recommendation. The committee re-affirmed its support for any college taking action over non-implementation of the award.

The consultation form can be downloaded from the link below. Branches and college reps are encouraged to consult as widely as possible with members on the offer. They should state on the form how they have consulted with members. The form should be completed and returned to Education and Children’s Services by 4 November 2016 at the latest

UNISON represents 30,000 members working in further education and sixth form colleges across the UK.
Our members work in a variety of roles, including:

  • training and assessment;
  • technical;
  • library services;
  • facilities;
  • administration;
  • specialist learning support, curriculum support;
  • catering;
  • IT, data;
  • finance, procurement.

UNISON supports college members in the full range of workplace issues including job evaluation, mergers, outsourcing, contract renegotiations, discipline, grievances, performance and sickness.

Nationally and locally we campaign on improving pay – including introducing the living wage for the lowest paid college workers – and minimising the negative impact of the FE area reviews.

Further Education Update

March 2016 – UNISON gets seat on ‘national area review advisory group’ for post-16 education in England as new government guidance issues.

The government proposes to move the sector towards “fewer, often large, more resilient and efficient providers”. As part of the cost savings, the three main areas the review is focusing on are curriculum, estates and back office. UNISON is concerned about the threat this raises around job security and site closures or relocations.

The government guidance for Further Education paper – updated March 2016

What are UNISON’s concerns?

  • That the key driver of the review is further cost savings rather than the aim to genuinely improve further education provision.
  • The limited scope of the review does not include all educational providers in an area.
  • The failure to include trade unions and learner representatives on the steering groups.
  • The impact of a potential reduction in FE sites will have on learners’ ability to access courses.
  • The impact on the job security and terms and conditions of staff, in particular for those considered to be ‘back office’ functions.
  • The threat of privatisation.

What is UNISON’s position?

UNISON believes in the crucial role that further education plays in society and our local communities and supports greater investment in the sector rather than further cuts. We believe that access to further education should be for all, and we are concerned about the proposals to reduce the number of access points to education. As representatives of support staff within FE we are seeking commitments on job security and protection of pensions, pay and terms and conditions. It is clear that the reviews will have significant implications for staff and learners and we firmly believe that the interests of these groups needs to be properly consulted throughout the process.


Branch Seminar 2016
Please complete this short survey and circulate this to members/reps/regional contacts. This is a short survey and the findings will help us to plan for the event for 2016 and to address the reasons for the low attendance at the national seminar held in Swansea in 2015.

New Materials
Just to let you know UNISON has published guidance and national agreements on the web they can all be found here, these include:-

Joint Agreement on Guidelines for Parental Leave in FE
Joint Agreement for the Avoidance and Handling of Redundancies in FE
Joint Agreement for Family Schemes in Further Education Colleges
Guidance for Parental Leave in FE
Joint Agreement on Job Evaluation
Joint Agreement on Equality
Model Agreement on Organisational Change
Joint Statement on Shared Services
Understanding College Finance
Guidance on challenging attacks to Sickness Absence

All the above relate to England only except the last two pieces of guidance.  Any queries regarding these please contact education@unison.co.uk

For more information contact Dom Kingsmill-Stocker in the Oxfordshire UNISON branch office 01865 815990