Thousands of college staff in Scotland are poised to receive a pay rise after a £14million deal was struck with trade unions.
Support staff in the nation’s 26 colleges will benefit from a minimum £1,600 boost over a 29-month period as a result of the breakthrough.
Union officials said the move would provide “much needed relief” for 5,670 full-time equivalent employees, including those working in finance, human resources, information and communications technology, student support, librarians, catering, cleaning, janitors and others.
They said, however, that the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) remained in dispute over pay rises for 2017 and 2018 for college lecturers.
Unison members voted by 96% to accept the deal, while 95% of Unite members backed it, and 100% of GMB members.
Patricia Murray, vice-chairwoman of Unison Scotland’s further education committee, said: “This deal will see over 40% of our members get a pay rise in each of two years of between 3% and 4.1%, with gains of up to £170 beyond government pay policy at the lower end of the scales.
“It puts £1,600 minimum into pay packets, with pay outs in November 2018, April 2019, and April 2020.
“There is still a long road ahead in relation to delivering national pay grade harmonisation for support staff in colleges, like their lecturing colleagues.
“However, this deal will provide them with some much needed relief while we get there.”
Since national bargaining was established in 2015, a number of national strikes by Unison, GMB and the EIS have disrupted college courses.
Alison MacLean, regional officer at Unite, said: “This deal will see a period of long awaited stability for our members who do an excellent job across our Scottish colleges.
“Thankfully, their contribution to the sector is finally being recognised after years of low pay awards”
Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, was “delighted” that the deal had been backed.
“This agreement is the culmination of a lot of hard work, serious negotiations and compromise by both parties and has delivered the best possible, affordable pay rises and improvements in conditions of service,” she said.
“We know that we have more work to do, but we can now progress the implementation of a national scheme of job evaluation for support staff, and we will continue to work constructively with the support staff trade unions on the development of further national terms and conditions of service.”