Although members expressed significant unhappiness with the offer, there was little enthusiasm for sustained industrial action at this time.
An indicative ballot, in the form of a survey, was emailed to eligible members on Monday 7 September to find out which colleges look set to apply the pay freeze in 2015-16 and to gauge members' willingness to take action to support ATL's negotiations.
FE pay negotiations
ATL, along with other FE unions, submitted a claim for an increase in pay of £1 per hour for all staff.
On 24 June, however, the AoC informed the unions that it would be making a 0% recommendation on pay in FE colleges for 2015-16. At ATL's Executive committee on 4 July, it was agreed that ATL would conduct an indicative ballot to seek the views of ATL and AMiE members in AoC-affiliated colleges on taking industrial action to strengthen the union's negotiations.
This ballot took place between Monday 7 September and Friday 18 September in the form of a survey of eligible members.
ATL and AMiE's position
Your union finds the AoC's 0% offer extremely disappointing. Over recent years, colleagues working at every level across the sector have come together to promote the vital role of further education and to make the case for adequate funding to government.
The AoC's proposed wage freeze risks undermining the improved working relations between employers and employees – especially in colleges which had previously budgeted for pay rises and might now backtrack in the light of the AoC's recommendations.
Your union therefore held an indicative ballot, in the form of a survey, of members in AoC-affiliated colleges to find out which colleges look set to apply a wage freeze and to gauge the depth of feeling around taking industrial action to strengthen your union's negotiations.
The ballot was purely indicative. As you know, ATL/AMiE prefers debate not demand, but on occasion your union has to look towards stronger tactics to secure a better deal. ATL/AMiE would not force members to take action but a compelling YES vote in a ballot must translate into action being taken, otherwise the negotiating leverage is lost now and in the future.
The recommendations of the national officers on next steps will be reported shortly.