From education to employment

Scores of English colleges face strike ballot over low pay


England’s biggest-ever strike ballot will launch on Tuesday 5 September, the University and College Union (UCU) announced today (Thursday). The ballot will run at 89 English college employers until Tuesday 10 October in a dispute over low pay and poor working conditions.

UCU is demanding a fair pay offer to help staff meet the cost-of-living crisis, a national workload agreement and binding national pay negotiations.

The ballot comes after English school teachers accepted a pay award of 6.5% for 2023/24. The Department for Education provided additional funding for the pay award and also announced an extra £470m for colleges over the next two years, which Secretary of State Gillian Keegan said is “equivalent” to the funding going to schools to meet their 6.5% pay rise.

So far employer body the Association of Colleges (AoC) has failed to recommend any pay award whatsoever for 2023/24. It directs colleges to pay their teachers as little as £26k while the pay gap between school and college teachers is over £9k.

College staff work an average of two days extra every week for no additional pay and salaries have fallen 35% behind RPI inflation over the past 12 years.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘Hundreds of millions of pounds in extra funding is coming into further education and it needs to be shared with the workers who provide the teaching and support students.

‘The government announced the extra money over a month ago but the employer body we are supposed to bargain with has not yet made a pay recommendation for the coming year. We need proper bargaining and binding national commitments.

‘Our members are fed up with low pay and high workloads and they will be voting for strike action if employers fail to meet our demands.’

The full list of employers UCU is in dispute with, and which will be balloted for strike action in September if they fail to meet the union’s demands:

  1. Abingdon and WitneyCollege
  2. Activate Learning 
  3. Askham BryanCollege
  4. BathCollege
  5. Bishop AucklandCollege
  6. BlackburnCollege
  7. Blackpool & The FyldeCollege
  8. BoltonCollege
  9. Bournemouth & PooleCollege
  10. Bridgwater and TauntonCollege
  11. BrockenhurstCollege
  12. BrooklandsCollege
  13. BurnleyCollege
  14. Burton and South DerbyshireCollege
  15. BuryCollege
  16. CalderdaleCollege
  17. Cambridge RegionalCollege(Camre) 
  18. Capital CityCollegeGroup 
  19. ChelmsfordCollege
  20. CheshireCollegeSouth & West  
  21. ChesterfieldCollege
  22. ChichesterCollegeGroup 
  23. CityCollegePlymouth 
  24. City of BristolCollege
  25. City of LiverpoolCollege
  26. City of WolverhamptonCollege
  27. Colchester Institute 
  28. Collegeof West Anglia 
  29. CravenCollege
  30. CroydonCollege
  31. DarlingtonCollege
  32. DerbyCollege
  33. DNColleges Group  
  34. DudleyCollege
  35. Ealing, Hammersmith & West LondonCollege
  36. East CoastCollege
  37. East DurhamCollege
  38. East SussexCollegeGroup 
  39. ExeterCollege
  40. FarnboroughCollegeof Technology 
  41. FurnessCollege
  42. GloucestershireCollege
  43. Heart of WorcestershireCollege
  44. Heart of Yorkshire Education Group
  45. Hugh BairdCollege
  46. Isle of WightCollege
  47. LambethCollege
  48. LeedsCollegeof Building 
  49. LeicesterCollege
  50. LoughboroughCollege
  51. MiddlesbroughCollege
  52. MidKentCollege
  53. Milton KeynesCollegegroup 
  54. MyerscoughCollege
  55. Nelson & ColneCollegeGroup 
  56. New CityCollege
  57. NewCollegeDurham 
  58. NewCollegeSwindon 
  59. Newcastle and StaffordColleges Group 
  60. North Warwickshire and South LeicestershireCollege
  61. NorthamptonCollege
  62. NottinghamCollege
  63. OaklandsCollege
  64. Orbital SouthColleges 
  65. Petroc  
  66. PlumptonCollege
  67. RunshawCollege
  68. SKCollegeGroup 
  69. South & CityCollegeBirmingham and BournvilleCollegeof FE 
  70. South DevonCollege
  71. South EssexCollege
  72. South Gloucestershire and StroudCollege
  73. South ThamesCollegeGroup 
  74. SparsholtCollege
  75. Stoke-on-TrentCollege
  76. StrodeCollege
  77. Suffolk NewCollege
  78. TamesideCollege
  79. TEC Partnership  
  80. Truro & PenwithCollege
  81. Walsall college
  82. Warrington & Vale RoyalCollege
  83. WestonCollege
  84. WeymouthCollege
  85. Wigan & LeighCollege
  86. WiltshireCollege
  87. Windsor ForestColleges Group 
  88. Wirral MetropolitanCollege
  89. YeovilCollege

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