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Colleges face days of strike disruption next week

The strikes are part of the ongoing disputes over pay and conditions at several colleges across England

Members of the University and College Union are set to walk out from 10 colleges next week

The strikes are part of the ongoing disputes over pay and conditions at several colleges across England

Colleges face three days of staff walkouts next week as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 10 English colleges are set to take three days’ strike action next week.

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. 


Read more: Revealed: The colleges that could face pay strikes

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One is strike called off

UCU members at New College Swindon have called off a three-day walkout due to begin next Wednesday after the union agreed a new pay deal with the college.

The deal will see all staff receive a 2 per cent pay rise backdated to August and there will be a series of changes made immediately to the pay scales to allow staff to move up better-paid grades faster. Both sides have agreed to set up a working party to monitor the changes and look at other potential improvements to pay progression.

UCU regional official Nick Varney said: "This new deal is good news for staff at the college and good news for students who won’t face further disruption. Nobody ever wants to take strike action, but members felt they had been left with no alternative. 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."

'Always a last resort'

UCU said 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 per cent over the last decade.

Head of further education at the UCU 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.”

The colleges facing strike action

• Bath College

• Bradford College

• Bridgwater and Taunton College

• City of Wolverhampton College

• Croydon College

• Harlow College

• Petroc

• South Bank College (previously Lambeth College)

• West Thames College (on strike 18, 19 and 20 March)

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