Sixth form colleges - pay background
ATL and the other teaching unions in sxith form colleges have published a joint pay claim for 2012-2013.
We believe that steps must be taken towards re-establishing a pay and conditions structure for teachers in sixth form colleges which is comparable to that for teachers in schools, and that progress towards this goal is possible, even within the current climate of auterity.
Sixth form college pay negotiations 2012-13
The Staff Side unions met representatives of the Sixth Form Colleges Forum, the colleges' national body, on Monday 3 December to discuss sixth form college teachers' pay and conditions.
At the meeting, SFCF representatives repeated their refusal to offer any pay increase at all to sixth form college teachers for September 2012, arguing that any increase would be unaffordable given that the funding situation had not improved since the last meeting in July. They said, however, that they would be willing to discuss pay for September 2013 in early 2013.
The Staff Side responded that teachers had been extremely disappointed when the three unions had consulted their members following the meeting in July. The Staff Side stressed that it was imperative to begin restoring comparability with school teachers as soon as possible.
The employers did, however, agree to continue discussions on joint employment procedures, an agreement on facilities time and a review of the joint guidance on workload and working time.
For more details, see
The staff side unions met representatives of the Sixth Form Colleges Forum, the colleges' national body, on Monday 2 July to discuss sixth form college teachers' pay and conditions.
At the meeting, SFCF representatives refused to offer any pay increase at all to sixth form college teachers for September 2012, arguing that any increase would be unaffordable given the current funding situation. This follows their refusal to offer any pay increase for September 2011. They also made it clear that they do not expect to be able to begin restoring pay comparability with school teachers in the near future.
The staff side made clear its extreme disappointment and asked the employers to reconsider their position. Current high levels of inflation have made it imperative that the 2012 pay negotiations should be used to provide some form of pay increase and begin to restore comparability. Despite the similar funding position in general FE colleges, the FE employers have felt able to make a pay offer to their teachers both this year and last year. The employers said in response that sixth form colleges have sent a very clear message that issues around affordability and sustainability mean that they are not in a position to make any pay offer at all for 2012-13 and that this was their final position.
The staff side responded that the three unions would have to consult members on the employers again refusing to make a pay offer. It was also important for the employers to inform colleges that the staff side was extremely disappointed.
The staff side claim also included workload, working time and conditions of service issues. The response of the employers was a little more positive on these issues and it was agreed to continue discussions on these issues. It is important for the staff side to be able to bring evidence of problems in colleges to the meeting in September. A questionnaire will be sent to union reps in early September requesting information on workload, working time and conditions of service.
Meanwhile, in relation to pay, college representatives are urged to make clear to principals that the absence of any pay offer is likely to lead to continued and new disputes which are not in the interests of the sector.
Vote against industrial action
ATL members in sixth form colleges have voted against taking industrial action over their employers' attempts to impose a pay freeze for 2011-12.
In a 27% turnout, 61% of members voted against striking, leading ATL's president, Alice Robinson to declare no industrial action will take place.
Strikes could still take place in sixth form colleges in England by members of NUT and NASUWT over the refusal by the Sixth Form Colleges Forum to make a pay offer for 2011-12.
This year's pay freeze comes after only a 0.75% rise in 2010-11, leaving teachers in sixth form colleges earning less than their counterparts in schools.
Members balloted: 1,388
Votes returned: 381 (27%)
In favour of strike action: 147 (39%)
Against strike action: 233 (61%)
Action by other unions
For more information on what to do when members of other unions are on strike in your workplace, see:
Background to the dispute
The staff side has agreed reluctantly to consult their respective memberships on possible industrial action following a break down in negotiations. The 2010-11 pay increase of just 0.75% resulted in the loss of pay comparability between teaches in sixth form colleges and thosein schools. However, the pay agreement did include commitments by the national college employers to meet in 2011 and 2012 to discuss pay and to seek to restore pay comparability as soon as funding permitted.
The agreement of the staff side unions to this settlement in 2010 hinged upon the basis of these assurances from the employers. Unfortunately, the retirement of the head of secretariat for the Sixth Form College Forum in May 2011 led to the pay negotiations for 2011-12 being handled by a new team within the Local Government Group, who adopted a more confrontational and inflexible approach from the outset. In a provocative move, the new employers' team undermined the previous commitments given to the unions by saying that they would not be offering any pay increase for 2011-12.
Whilst recognising the funding constraints upon sixth form collegess, there was a reasonable expectation that the reality of a pay freeze for schools would provide an opportunity for a step to be taken towards the realisation of the commitment to the restoration of pay comparability. The decision to refuse any pay offer threatens to destroy members' confidence in the employers, and lead to recruitment and retention problems in the sector.
In a survey of ATL members in sixth form collegess, almost 60% answered yes to the question "Do you want to be balloted on industrial action with a view to seeking a pay offer for 2011/12 from the employers' side?"
Other pay news
In November 2011, the Staff Side Secretariat of the NJC for Sixth Form Colleges published a report detailing the findings of a joint teacher union survey on the impact of the cuts.
In October 2011, the staff side requested that negotiations recommence on the pay deal for 2011-12. It is concerned that sixth form staff will be uncoupled from national negotiations around pay and conditions if agreement cannot be found around the pay deal.
Reps have been sent a statement on the latest position on pay and are encouraged to survey and meet members on the refusal of the Staff Side to offer a pay award for 2011-12. Please let the negotiators know what members' views are - reps should also contact Norman Crowther.
Depending on the response, members may be balloted on this issue. ATL will be hoping to host a Sixth Form Reps Network event on this and other matters next term.
In July the three teacher unions - ATL, NASUWT and NUT issued a joint statement covering the breakdown in negotiations with employers, after SFCF representatives refused any pay increase for support staff.
In June 2011 the three teacher unions issued a joint pay claim and statement on pay for 2011/12 along with a statement from the staff side of the NJC for staff in sixth form colleges.
In April 2011 the unions, with extreme reluctance, issued a letter accepting the 2010/11 pay deal as the employers made it clear that there would be no increase on an offer of a 0.75% pay increase on all salary points, with effect from 1 September 2010.
Need further advice?
Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.