Leeds College of Art and Design UCU members will be voting in a ballot for action as part of a national campaign to press those colleges that disgracefully have failed to implement a national agreement on pay reached in 2004.
The Principal has been asked to give a commitment to move lecturers onto the harmonised pay spine and negotiate a timeframe for assimilation. This has not been forthcoming and there has been no response to our request. National officials and Regional Officials have written urging the employer to talk to UCU – again nothing.
Of the five colleges in this second round, Canterbury and Peterborough colleges have agreed and have been removed from the ballot leaving LCAD, City College Birmingham and Suffolk New College. There is still time for this college to stop this process by agreeing the Harmonised Pay Spine and a timeframe for implementation.
Unfortunately the past years of inactivity by the local union has led to a management culture that feels it can do anything and will face little resistance. This college has the worst paid staff not only in Leeds but in Yorkshire.
There is nowhere else that fixes people on a single pay salary point. Every other college has a spine and movement annually up that spine in some form or other. Management themselves have recognised there is a problem with the currently opaque and ad hoc system, stating in the Corporate Aims and Objectives for 2008-13 that they wish to establish a “consistent recruitment procedures for promotions”. The Harmonised Pay scale provides that consistent framework for promotion and its adoption by management would signal the college’s commitment to ‘valuing staff’ rather than empty rhetoric and the stated practice of seeing teaching at the college as a first step on our careers; the subtext being, if you want more pay go somewhere else. Our high staff turn over is testament to this.
Not only we the worst paid staff in Yorkshire and alone in having fixed salary points, we are discovering that conditions enjoyed generally in colleges, schools and universities have been steadily eroded here while the Union has been dormant. Check your sick leave entitlement. Other colleges provide for six months full pay and six months half pay after a qualifying employment period. This college sometime in the recent past changed that to a maximum of 2 months full and two months half pay after 4 years service. Because we haven’t been organised as a union over the past few years the employer has got away with murder.
That is about to change. Membership of UCU has tripled over that past two years we are getting organised. We’re not greedy, we are not militant – 15 years of taking it on the chin shows that. We are however becoming angry and fed up with the shoddy treatment of hard working and dedicated professionals. The Art College is built on the commitment of its staff, and to not have that dedication acknowledged by providing a salary spine that promotes career progression is insulting to all of us.
We urge you to vote yes and get behind your union. if you are not a member join on line at www.ucu.org.uk