15 days of strikes threatened over college contracts

UCU members at Nottingham College are taking strike action over new contracts that they say will leave them worse off

Julia Belgutay

UCU members at Nottingham College plan 14 days of strikes over new contracts

A mammoth 15 days of strike action have been announced at Nottingham College in a dispute over new staff contracts.

The University and College Union (UCU) said its members were furious at the college’s “deplorable tactic” of threatening to dismiss staff who refused to sign up to new contracts that would leave them worse off, and they had unanimously backed the extensive walkouts.

The strikes will start with a one-day walkout on Wednesday 11 September, escalating to strikes of two, three, four and five days in subsequent weeks. Staff at the college already took a day's strike action earlier this month.

More news: Nottingham College staff to strike over pay

In depth: Staff 'held to ransom' by college over new contracts

More news: Bradford College staff to hold three-day strike

Staff worse off 

According to the union, the proposed contracts would leave over 80 staff more than £1,000 a year worse off. The union says they would also see all staff lose up to eight days’ holiday, cuts to sick pay, and the removal of an agreement designed to protect staff against work overload. Staff at the college have not received a pay rise since 2010. In the recent ballot, 96 per cent of UCU members who voted backed the walkouts.

UCU's head of further education, Andrew Harden, said: "UCU members at Nottingham College are furious at the way they are being treated. Threatening dismissal in order to strongarm staff into signing a new contract is a deplorable tactic that we haven’t seen in further education for many years, and one that our members will resist with full force. The college is completely out of step with what is happening elsewhere in the sector, where we have been working positively with good employers to improve conditions for staff.

"In announcing 15 days of action, staff at the college are sending a clear message that they will not be cowed by their employer. If the college wants to avoid serious disruption it needs to start negotiating with us in earnest."

A Nottingham College spokesperson said: “We are saddened that our UCU colleagues have voted to pursue further and extensivestrike action. Everybody in the college cares passionately about providing our students with the best possible education and we are continuing to talk to UCU in an attempt to reach a collective agreement and avoid any further strike action.

"While we respect the rights of our staff to take industrial action our priority will be to ensure we do everything we can to ensure students’ studies, health, safety and welfare are not affected. The college will remain open as usual throughout any industrial action.”

Nottingham College: planned strike dates

  • Week 1: 11 September
  • Week 2: 19 and 20 September
  • Week 3: 23, 24 and 25 September
  • Week 4: 30 September, 1, 3, and 4 October
  • Week 5: 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 October

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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