UNISON, GMB and Unite, the trade unions representing non-teaching staff, have joined with teaching unions in setting out their pay claim for colleges of further education. The unions are calling for a significant move towards the full restoration of pay levels to where they would be had college pay kept pace with inflation since 2009. They also want to see the living wage, as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, to be the minimum wage in the sector, with all colleges in England becoming accredited living wage employers with the Foundation. The unions also want all contracted-out services to be brought back in-house with improvements in terms and conditions equal to those already directly employed by the college.
Unions aim for catch-up pay rise
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The ver.di services union is arguing that a sector pay agreement is needed to cover workers involved in childcare, youth and family work and care for the disabled. It says that the problem faced by the sector is that many welfare-based and private providers fail to pay decent wages with some pay rates as much as a third less than those that apply in the public sector agreements. Ver.di is highly critical of low-paying employers who don't recognise that urgent action is needed to address the shortage of skilled staff, with an estimate that kindergartens alone will face a shortfall of 329000
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The minimum wage is to be increased by 11.1% taking it to around 30 000 Serbian dinars a month (EUR 255). The unions had called for an increase of 24.5% to bring it in line with trends in the cost of living while the employers were looking at only 6%-10%. A deal couldn't be reached in tripartite dialogue and so the government acted unilaterally, while also lowering certain taxes on wages and benefits that employers have to pay. The minister of finance also announced a planned 5% increase for all public companies from 1 January 2020.