Teaching staff demo at performance pay
TUTORS and staff at Colchester Institute are mounting a pre-emptive protest against the possible introduction of performance related pay.Some employees at the Sheepen Road college – which in recent years has suffered chequered industrial relations – fear a complex system of rewardable "targets" recently outlined by management could be used unfairly against them.
By Roddy Ashworth
TUTORS and staff at Colchester Institute are mounting a pre-emptive protest against the possible introduction of performance related pay.
Some employees at the Sheepen Road college – which in recent years has suffered chequered industrial relations – fear a complex system of rewardable "targets" recently outlined by management could be used unfairly against them.
These include the possible introduction of bonuses or penalties for performance related to key areas for college income – notably the recruitment and retention of students.
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However, many lecturers at the college feel that these are not entirely their responsibility, with management having a key role in terms of marketing and making the college an attractive place to study.
Some also believe that performance related pay should not be applied to education in principle.
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Around 200 members of staff at the Institute have already signed a petition outlining their opposition to any performance related pay scheme.
There are approximately 600 employees at the site which caters for around 10,000 students, with a further 5,000 engaged in distance learning.
The petition is to be sent to the recently appointed chairman of governors David Priest, who replaced Ken Leeson as head of the college's board earlier this year.
The petition is scheduled to arrive before a board meeting and up-coming Ofsted report in early April.
Yesterday, Colchester Institute marketing manager Kati Vardon said: "Last year it was decided to run a performance related pay scheme in parallel with our normal pay scheme to see whether it was worth adopting or not.
"Road-shows have been put on for staff this year, showing how the shadow scheme has worked.
"There are about four different avenues we could go down.
"It has not been implemented here and as far as I am aware no decision has made. It they do decide to go with it, it will be in consultation with the unions."
She added that she believed a lot of colleges had already shifted over to similar performance related schemes.
However, last night Elizabeth Martins, regional officer for the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), said: "Our research shows there is only one college in the region which has gone over to performance related pay for lecturing staff, and that nationally they are few and far between.
"The one in this region is Bedford, and I am aware that it has been very divisive and caused a lot of problems there.
"However, quite constructive discussions are taking place in order to try and get the senior management team at the college to reconsider their position in relation to this.
"It is our intention to make the Board members know that a lot of staff are opposed to the introduction of performance related pay at Colchester Institute."