News for Members Working in Further Education - 25th March 2015Further and Adult Education are under attack and we need to take action ahead of the general election
On the 26th of February, the government announced cuts in adult further education of 24% in 2015-16. (This is on top of the 32% real terms cut to the adult skills budget since 2010) These cuts are a further blow to colleges which have already lost around one million learners. UNISON estimates that the cuts could lead to a loss of more than 400,000 college students in 2015/16 alone. These cuts will:
Reduce the number of adults returning to learn or to retrain at a time when most people agree that education, skills and retraining should be a priority
Place colleges under severe financial pressure, leading to course or possibly institutional closures and redundancies
Affect vulnerable learners most severely, as more flexible courses are axed in favour of apprenticeships
Affect higher level courses as fewer students will be able to access learning which acts as a 'stepping stone'What you can do
Please use your networks to circulate the petition and information about the cuts. Further education provides people with a springboard to improve their education and skills, and cuts of this size will shut the door to those who need FE the most. Adult learning has long been a passport to raise aspirations transform, lives and achieve potential. We need to make this an election issue. Already we are receiving information about cuts and planned redundancies.
UNISON is working with other trade unions and key stakeholders including the Association of Colleges on a campaign to challenge this. Information on the campaign can be found at this blog
Please sign the Petition here
and forward this to your friends, family and colleagues. There are already 20,000 signatures. We also encourage branches and members to make contact with MPs and prospective MPs about the issue. Contact parliamentary election candidates about the funding cuts using our online tool
Already 39 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling to stop the cuts. Find out if your MP has signed it yet?
A UNISON briefing is available hereTake part in the love FE Day
Take part in 'love FE day' next Thursday 26 March, which aims to celebrate lifelong learning and calls for a STOP to the potentially devastating proposed cuts to further education. The campaign partners ask you to mark the day by highlighting the importance of FE and what all of our communities stand to lose if these cuts go ahead. Please take part in as many of the suggested activities below that you can, encourage friends, colleagues and family to join with you.
How to take part:Take a photo with our poster
(or create your very own!), or just tell us why you love FE, and post to twitter or Instagram
using the tag #loveFE
Photos and messages will be displayed on the blog on the 26 March.National Branch Seminar for Members in Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges
The numbers registering for the national branch seminar are very low. Clearly in the context of the above announcement the event takes on even greater significance. It will be a key focus of the event. The registration form and details are hereRead the joint union claim hereStaff Observations
A college has produced proposals to include observations of front line support staff. We would be interested in finding out if this is taking place at other colleges. We have not heard of colleges looking at graded observation for support staff as the focus was always on academic staff. The link to the survey is herePay Implementation
We continue to monitor the implementation of pay 2014/15. The link to the survey is here
. Of the responses received 45% of the colleges are 'red light' colleges
that are refusing to implement any of the pay offer or implement the Living Wage rate relevant at the time of the offer of £7.65.-------------------------------------------------------------------------School Support Staff in Wales Circular - March 2014
Registration of Support Staff
Future Welsh Government proposals to ‘register’ some categories of
support staff working in schools in Wales in line with teachers as part of a
new body called the Education Workforce Council (EWC) are still under
discussion whilst the legislation works its way through the Assembly
legislative process. If the Bill passes in July 2014, the General
Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) will be reformed some time after as the EWC to
encompass some (not all) support staff as well as teaching roles.
Discussions are currently at an early stage and UNISON will have the
opportunity to input into the formation of the new body. In principle,
many UNISON members support registration. We have reflected this view
whilst also outlining some of the challenges that need to be overcome in order
for registration to be fair and meaningful. UNISON’s response and
evidence (copy available upon request) at the initial stages of the Bill already
summarises some key areas of concern such as who pays the fees, who exactly
needs to be registered, the potential for disciplinary action, meaningful
interpretation of levels / roles, adherence to a code of conduct etc. We
are confident that the massive data collection exercise needed for registration
will highlight the many anomalies of grades and roles that we have been
consistently raising with Welsh Government, furthering our case for a National
Body for School Support Staff in Wales.
NUT Industrial Action
The NUT teacher’s union have announced a further date for national
strike action as part of their campaign against government proposals on
teacher’s pay. They are planning to take action on Wednesday 26 March 2014. A summary on the NUT campaign can be found here: http://www.teachers.org.uk/files/parent-leaflet-a5-4pp-9223.pdf It is very important that UNISON members working in
Schools follow our advice and do not attempt to undermine the NUT Industrial
UNISON respects the rights of other trade unions to take industrial
action. UNISON members in schools have not been balloted for strike action or
action short of strike action and therefore they are advised to continue with
their normal duties and responsibilities. However, UNISON members should
not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a
result of the teachers’ industrial action.
School support staff should not be expected to provide cover for or take
classes, where this would normally be done by teachers who are taking action.
In particular, Higher Level Teaching Assistants or cover supervisors should
only be taking classes or providing cover where they are contracted to do so,
or it is timetabled or part of their normal duties. Staff should not be moved
from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover classes
and frustrate the industrial action of colleagues.
Members who are under pressure to cover should contact their UNISON rep,
branch or region for further advice and support. Members are reminded that due
to industrial relations legislation only those employees who have been involved
in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.
UCAC were originally taking Industrial Action alongside the NUT but we have
received a circular today (12th March) stating that the UCAC action has now
been called off.
Administration of medicines and procedures
The administration of medicines and medical procedures is a regular
topic of discussion at the Cymru Wales Support Staff Forum. Recent
success in the Glasgow Local Government Branch http://www.unison.org.uk/news/school-staff-accept-medication-deal
following Industrial Action has spurred the Forum into thinking about
how we might approach the issue in Wales. In England, the Department for
Education (DfE) has recently issued new guidance for consultation. Whilst this
will not affect Wales, it gave us justification to call a meeting with the
Minster for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM, to open up discussions on how
this issue might be tackled on a Wales wide basis.
This meeting took place in February and the Minister heard our concerns
about the tasks that support staff were being asked to undertake, sometimes under
the threat of disciplinary action if they refused. The initial outcome is that
the Welsh Government have agreed to look at the issue more closely, which
should lead to the formation of a group to work on the topic. As it was a short
meeting, we did not expect anything concrete at this stage, however, we will be
pursuing this strongly over the coming months – if necessary placing the topic
on the agenda at a future Education Workforce Council sub group.
Cymru Wales Support Staff Forum and Conference dates
The Cymru Wales School Support Staff Forum and Conference will take
place on the following dates during the year:
§ Friday 2nd May – Colwyn Bay
§ Friday 10th October – School Support Staff Conference, Venue TBC (South
§ Friday 21st November – Cardiff
Whilst attendance is always improving, we would encourage LG branches to
ensure that they are sending two delegates to the Forum (at least one of whom
must work in a school or education setting) As well as creating space for
school based reps to discuss issues of shared importance, the Forum is the key
decision making body for the Region on matters affecting school support staff
on a Wales wide level. If branches wish to nominate new delegates please
forward the names and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
so that we can add
them to the Forum mailing list.
Newsletter and Wales specific information
The next Cymru Wales School Support Staff newsletter will be ready by
early April. The majority of the content has already been agreed,
however, if Organisers or Activists have a specific story or item they would
like to include that would be of interest to school support staff across Wales
please get in touch and we will consider it. If not for this newsletter but a
future edition. The Forum are looking to produce an additional leaflet on the
administration of medicines in Wales which will reference current guidance and
UNISON’s campaign for a Wales wide agreement on the administration of
Regional Schools Lead – on behalf of the School Support
UNISON Cymru Wales------------------------------------------------------------AGM - Thursday, 12 March 2015Council Chamber at 12.30Many thanks to all those who attended yesterday's AGM at County Hall - we were quorate and so were able to conclude the business of the branch in order to continue to run efficiently.
Outline of new proposals issued
Attached to this bulletin you will find
the final proposals on NJC pay for 2014 -2016 which UNISON’s NJC Committee
considered yesterday and agreed to consult on. The additional proposal – the
fifth bullet point - is highlighted in red.
We will be issuing the detailed
implications of the proposals for members on Monday, following an NJC Joint
Secretaries meeting at which we will agree pay calculations for consultation.
The intention is to ensure that the three unions and the LGA consult on exactly
the same basis.What
about the consultation?
The consultation on the pay proposals
will begin in the week beginning 20 October. It will be carried out in
accordance with the Local Government Service Group’s Pay Consultation
procedures agreed at Local Government conference. We will be asking branches to
carry out local ballots of all members covered by the NJC, as far as possible.
Regions will be asked to support branches in the consultation process.All
members whose pay is determined by the NJC will be eligible to vote, including
those not balloted for industrial action.Proposals
£1,065 (8.56%) on SCP5 with effect from 1 January 2015
£1,000 (7.93%) on SCP6 with effect from 1 January 2015
£800 (6.19%) on SCP7 with effect from 1 January 2015
£550 (4.13%) on SCP8 with effect from 1 January 2015
£350 (2.55%) on SCP9 with effect from 1 January 2015
£325 (2.32%) on SCP10 with effect from 1 January 2015
2.20% on SCPs 11 and above with effect from 1 January 2015
Removal of SCP5 with effect from 1 October 2015
£325 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 5, 6 & 7 to be paid in December 2014
£150 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 8, 9 & 10 to be paid in December 2014
£100 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 11-25 incl to be paid in December 20140.45% of proposed new salaries on SCPs 26-49 incl, of which £100 to be paid in December 2014 and the remaining balance to be paid in April 2015NJC
Both Sides recognise that local
government is undergoing a period of unprecedented change. The way that public
services are designed and delivered is evolving at a rapid pace and against
this background the NJC agrees that councils and their workforce need
collective agreements that:
The NJC remains committed to national
collective bargaining and aims to ensure that the bargaining machinery can
reflect and support new ways of working. The NJC will focus on producing
outputs that are relevant, fair and beneficial to both employers and those
employed to provide public services.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND SCHOOL WORKERS’
JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT BY UNISON, GMB AND
UNITE - 9th October 2014
unions which represent over 1.5 million workers in local government and schools
– UNISON, GMB and UNITE - have today decided to suspend strike action planned
for 14 October and consult their members on new proposals put forward by the
Local Government Association as the best achievable by negotiation.
proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.
In doing so,
all three unions have made it clear that they want to strengthen the collective
bargaining machinery covering local government and schools and move quickly to
jointly tackle important issues facing their members with the Local Government
Association. Members covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government
have the lowest pay in the public sector and have suffered significant attacks
on their conditions of work in recent years.
will now move forward together to consult their members.
9th October 2014
We have been informed this afternoon that the planned industrial action for the 14th October, has been suspended. This is due to the fact that an improved offer from the employers has been tabled at the NJC Committee meeting that took place today. Upon receipt of the full details of the offer, we will commence a round of consultation with the Unison membership to ascertain if the offer is acceptable or not.
We are endeavouring to contact all members for whom we have an email address this afternoon. However, we would be grateful for your assistance in helping to inform members of these developments.
Please note: If you have an urgent query and our office is closed, please telephone UnisonDirect on 08000 857 857