Sixteen colleges* in England face strike action in the new year in an ongoing row over pay. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at ten colleges have today (Wednesday) voted for industrial action and can join colleagues at six colleges who took action in November in the next wave of strikes.

Overall, 89% of UCU members backed strike action (individual results are below). However, only members in ten colleges will be able to join the action because anti-trade union laws require a turnout of 50% for the ballot to stand.

Overall the turnout was 48%, which is higher than the 45% turnout for the London Mayor election in 2016 and considerably higher than the 26% average turnout for the metro mayor elections last year.

The union said its officers would meet as soon as possible to discuss plans for further strikes. The dispute centres on the failure of college bosses to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen their pay decline by 25% over the last decade.

The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000. The union said low pay was bad for staff, students and colleges. Around two-thirds of college heads say pay is a major obstacle for them when it comes to attracting staff.

UCU said colleges could not hide behind government cuts and if they wanted to avoid disruption in 2019 they should follow the lead of Capital City College Group who recently agreed a 5% pay deal for its 1,700 staff.

UCU head of policy Matt Waddup said: ‘It is a testament to the strength of feeling about their treatment that UCU members have voted in such large numbers to take strike action. Sixteen colleges will face significant disruption in the new year unless they agree to do more to address the pay and conditions of their staff. 

‘Government cuts are hurting the further education sector, but too many colleges use them as an excuse to do little or nothing. Colleges who wish to avoid being targeted for action need to follow the example of CCCG group who agreed a 5% pay deal for staff.

‘More colleges would be facing strikes if it was not for the anti-trade union laws introduced by this government. These laws curtail people’s democratic right to strike in a manner that is not used in any other part of society.’


* The 16 colleges are the ten whose ballots closed today and met the 50% threshold:

Abingdon and Witney College, Bridgwater and Taunton College, City of Wolverhampton College, Coventry College, East Sussex College, Harlow College, Hugh Baird College, Kendal College, Leicester College, West Thames College

And the six who took action in November:

Bath College, Bradford College, Croydon College, Lambeth College, New College Swindon and Petroc in Devon.


The 10 colleges meeting the 50% threshold:





West Thames College




Hugh Baird College




Kendal College




Leicester College




Coventry College




East Sussex College Group




City of Wolverhampton College




Bridgwater and Taunton College




Harlow College




Abingdon and Witney College





Colleges not meeting the 50%





Barnsley College




South & City College Birmingham and Bournville College




City Lit




Strode College




Truro & Penwith College




City College Plymouth




City of Bristol College




Richmond Upon Thames College




South Thames College Group^




Havering College




Morley College




East Riding College




Wiltshire College




^ Kingston College, Carshalton College and South Thames College

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page