Monday, 5 September 2016


As 2,500 Further Education support staff take their first ever national strike action for fair pay, figures in a recent report commissioned by their own union, UNISON, show that workers across Scotland's public sector have suffered a real pay cut of 10% since 2009. And in the private sector it's been even worse: a 13% fall in real wages.

These UNISON members have resorted to strike action because at meetings of the newly-established national negotiating forum for all 20 FE colleges - itself the product of the FE lecturers' victorious strike earlier this year for national pay parity - college bosses have failed to shift towards fair pay. 
Whilst conceding £450 to lecturers after strike action in March, college bosses on salaries close to or exceeding that of the First Minister have only offered £230 to support staff - who include admin, admissions, technicians, cleaning and catering staff.

'Our Demands are Simple and Fair'
As Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON's FE sector committee explained:
"Our demand is simple and fair. Pay college support staff the same flat rate rise of £450 that you gave to our teaching colleagues.
"We work for the same colleges, help deliver the same courses, support the same students and deserve the same cost of living increase."

These low-paid workers deserve widespread support as they struggle to pay the bills.
And they're part of an army of workers drowning in a sea of poverty pay. The recent study commissioned by their own union, UNISON, proved that if wages in Scotland had even stood still, rather than fall by an average 12% across all sectors since 2009, an additional £11.6billion would have poured into the Scottish economy.
And £3.6billion extra would have come into government revenues, plus a saving of £240million made on in-work benefits.

Workers' Pay Plummets - Bosses' Salaries Skyrocket 
The Scottish government needs to properly fund Further Education, a sector jam-packed with working class people seeking to improve their lives and livelihoods.
The one area of savings that could be afforded is not real-time wage cuts to ordinary workers, but a cap on the salaries of college principals.
Whilst college support staff are driven to strike for a miserly £450 lump sum, bosses last year earned from a 'rock bottom' £68,611 at West Highland college, to a sky-rocketing £153,000 at City of Glasgow college. It's outrageous that these bosses are often on ten times the wage of the lower-paid college staff. Not for them the 12% cut in real wages suffered by Scotland's workers since 2009!

SSP Demands £10 Minimum Now! 
The SSP stands in full solidarity with these college staff - and all low-paid workers. And our ongoing campaign in the unions and on the streets for an immediate, legally enforced living minimum wage of £10 an hour for all at 16, with equal pay for women, would transform the lives of hundreds of thousands. Not to mention its advantages to the wider economy, as UNISON's research helps demonstrate. 

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