Wakefield College 'denying staff a wage rise' leading to formal pay dispute

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Managers at Wakefield College ‘must think again’ after UNISON claim staff have been denied a wage rise despite being given the funds to do so.

The union has launched a formal pay dispute over claiming the college’s refusal to discuss any pay increase.

UNISON and other trade unions say they wrote to the employer in July, expressing concern about how the college was conducting negotiations and seeking clarification about how it was tackling pay.

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The unions made it clear in the letter that a formal dispute would be implemented if further clarifications over the college’s conduct weren’t provided.

A formal dispute over pay has been launched at Wakefield College, says UNISON.A formal dispute over pay has been launched at Wakefield College, says UNISON.
A formal dispute over pay has been launched at Wakefield College, says UNISON.

They claim the chief executive of Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, which runs Wakefield College, did not respond and no steps have been taken since to resolve the dispute, despite the union making clear that a dispute process would begin if no progress was made.

The Department for Education made clear last month when announcing this £185m cash injection for further education that it should be spent on staff retention and recruitment, says the union.

However, Wakefield College has claimed it cannot increase wages because of its “deficit budget situation”.

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UNISON Wakefield branch secretary Sam Greenwood said: “Wakefield College has been given funding from central government specifically for staff pay.

“It’s outrageous for college managers to say they can’t afford to increase pay when they received money to do exactly that just a few weeks ago.”

UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser Rianne Hooley said: “Wakefield College’s conduct over pay has been completely unacceptable.

"UNISON has been left with no choice but to lodge a formal dispute.

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“The union is keen to resolve this, and has offered to meet with college managers through arbitration service Acas.

“It’s now up to Wakefield College to sit down for talks with UNISON to get this situation resolved, avoid a future strike and give staff the wage rise they more than deserve.”

But the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group disputes the claim.

A spokesperson for the Group said: "This is a very inaccurate picture. We meet and consult regularly with UNISON and have never refused to discuss a pay increase, nor have we suggested that staff pay will not be increased based on our financial position.

"We look forward to continuing our discussions with UNISON going forward."

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