Strike action suspended in colleges pay row

Unison has suspended its strike action which was planned for this week.

Unison has suspended its strike action which was planned for this week.

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Planned strikes across Scotland this week have been suspended by a union to bring employers back to the negotiating table.

Unison is urging its members to reject the “divisive, unfair” pay offer made by Colleges Scotland earlier this month during talks at ACAS.

Support workers at 20 further education colleges walked out in September causing disruption to students with cancelled classes.

The union is calling for support staff, including catering and cleaning workers, classroom assistants and technicians, to have fair pay and parity of pay increase with lecturing staff.

Unison held talks with Colleges Scotland at ACAS on October 27 and November 2, but said it was disappointed with the final offer.

The revised offer is 1.5 per cent pay increase for all support staff earning £22,000 per year or more; and £400 for all support staff earning less that £22,000.

Lecturing staff went on strike in March this year, which led to a £450 flat rate rise in May.

Unison’s further education committee has now decided to suspend strikes planned for Tuesday and Wednesday this week so members can be consulted on the revised offer and a renewed mandate sought in its campaign for equal pay for support staff.

Chris Greenshields, committee chairman, said: “This offer is divisive, unfair and should be rejected by Unison members. We now have three different pay offers for a workforce of 10,000 staff.

“This revised offer at ACAS offer makes matters worse and the extra money put on the table favours the higher paid. We are suspending strike action, to allow all our members to reject the offer and bring the employer back to the negotiating table.”