Striking staff at Bath College have been given a boost on the eve of their two-day walkout over pay as a local MP has given them her full support in their fight for fairer pay.
Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said that further education needs proper funding and the staff who work in colleges should be properly paid. She was commenting ahead of strikes by members of the University and College Union (UCU) on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
College staff will be on picket lines outside the Avon Street entrance to the college from 8am on both days. The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen their pay decline by 25% in the past decade.
The pay gap between schoolteachers and teachers in colleges is now £7,000. In the recent ballot, over 87% of UCU members at the college who voted backed strike action.
Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said: ‘Further education needs proper funding, and the staff who work in this vital area should be properly paid. I fully support UCU members taking industrial action in Bath.
‘The government have completely ignored further education funding, a sector that time and time again proves that it’s a fantastic alternative to university, and does a great job in setting people up for fulfilling lives.’
UCU regional official Nick Varney said: ‘We are delighted that Wera Hobhouse has offered her full support to UCU members at Bath College. We are really encouraged by her support for decent college funding and better pay for staff.
‘We hope the strikes this week will focus the college’s mind and they will come back to us and get the dispute sorted. Otherwise we are likely to see further disruption.’
UCU members are walking out on strike at six colleges in England this week as part of the campaign for fair pay. Members in Bath will be joined on strike by staff at Bradford College, Croydon College, Lambeth College, New College Swindon and Petroc in Devon.
Ballots will also be opening at a further 26 colleges* on the first day of the strike (Wednesday 28 November), including at Bridgwater & Taunton College, City of Bristol College and Strode College. Those ballots will close on Wednesday 19 December.
* The 26 colleges where strike ballots will open on 28 November
- Abingdon & Witney College
- Barnsley College
- Bournville College
- Bridgwater and Taunton College
- Carshalton College
- City College Plymouth
- City Literary Institute
- City of Bristol College
- City of Wolverhampton College
- Coventry College
- East Riding College
- East Sussex College Group
- Harlow College
- Havering College
- Hugh Baird College
- Kendal College
- Kingston College
- Leicester College
- Morley College
- Richmond upon Thames College
- South and City College Birmingham
- South Thames College
- Strode College
- Truro and Penwith College
- West Thames College
- Wiltshire College