Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Challenges Facing FE

Around this time of year when many staff in Further Education start to wonder if a restructure is on the way. They seem like an annual event in some colleges, never a year goes by without redundancies and staff having to reapply for their own jobs. Restructures are used to downgrade staff, who are forced to apply for jobs at a lower grade with longer hours, 25 to 30 hours contact time is becoming the norm with many of the lowest paid staff known as 'instructors' or 'facilitators' following a restructure, working the longest hours.

The government have passed some really vindictive legislation in the past year, attacks on the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable. One piece of legislation that has not been widely reported was the reduction of the consultation time for over 100 redundancies from 90 to 45 days. This means that branches could be informed that all teaching staff are at risk of redundancy after students have taken their exams. This makes negotiations very difficult. Management act with impunity when strike action is no longer a deterrent.

Many college heads have chosen to ignore the 0.7% offer that was agreed between UCU and the AoC. The AoC 0.7% is derisory, giving nothing at all shows contempt for the whole concept of collective bargaining. Managers in colleges which generate financial surpluses are using the austerity only agenda as an excuse reduce wages in order to generate further surplus.

The challenges facing FE staff are great. Unfortunately HE Comrades will recognise much of what is going on in FE. We must not be divided, we are best placed to face these challenges if we stand together.

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