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Ten colleges face strike action in third wave of walkouts

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 10 English colleges* will be taking three days’ strike action next week in their fight for fair pay and conditions.

UCU members at West Thames College will kick things off with a three-day walkout that begins on Monday (18 March). Staff at nine colleges will then walk out from Wednesday to Friday (20, 21 & 22 March).

The strikes are part of a third wave of action after UCU members at six colleges took action in November and staff at 12 colleges walked out at the end of January. The dispute centres on the failure of college bosses to make a decent pay offer to staff or address key issues such as excessive workloads.

The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000 as staff have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% over the last decade.

UCU said that strike action was always a last resort for staff and that colleges who wished to avoid disruption should follow the likes of Capital City College Group and Hugh Baird College who recently agreed deals for their staff to address low pay and improve conditions.

UCU said members were fed up with being told that nothing was possible unless the government came to the rescue. The union said it was simply not true that colleges could not work with it on pay, workloads or job security.

UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: ‘Strike action is always a last resort, but unless colleges work with us to prioritise their staff they will face disruption next week. Colleges who don’t try and hide behind government failings, but instead engage with us on the pay and conditions of their staff will receive a positive hearing.

‘Colleges who give nothing when they could work with us to solve these problems should expect to reap what they sow. Some colleges have proved what is possible when they work with UCU and those wishing to avoid disruption need to follow their lead.’

* Colleges on strike 20, 21 & 22 March

  • Bath College
  • Bradford College
  • Bridgwater and Taunton College
  • City of Wolverhampton College
  • Croydon College
  • Harlow College
  • New College Swindon
  • Petroc
  • South Bank College (previously Lambeth College)
  • West Thames College (on strike 18, 19 & 20 March)
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