Jeremy Corbyn has congratulated college union members for achieving “justice” by gaining more secure employment contracts.
The leader of the opposition wrote to the Capital City College Group (CCCG) branch of the University and College Union (UCU) after their “significant victory” in acquiring fractional posts for casual employees and a one-off £500 payment to all staff, ending the industrial dispute at the group.
Following a ballot in January, UCU members at the college group walked out alongside staff at 11 other colleges. Some 91 per cent of staff at affected colleges voted for strike action, with an average turnout of 63 per cent.
Jeremy Corbyn: I will ensure FE is not forgotten
CCCG is London’s biggest FE and training provider, with around 37,000 students and an annual income totalling £110 million. The group has 11 college sites across central and North London, including City and Islington College in Mr Corbyn’s Islington North constituency.
Mr Corbyn said: “FE must have the funds to be able to pay its staff a decent living wage and secure contracts of employment so that you can continue with this vital work.
“I will continue to ensure that FE is not allowed to be forgotten when it comes to the allocation of funding.”
'Your work transforms lives'
He added: “Whilst you may have not yet achieved the pay award you wished, you have managed to secure a one-off payment for all staff and a promise by the management to meet with you in the new academic year to discuss local pay bargaining.
“FE is a central part of the education sector in this country. Your work transforms lives.”
Increasing funding was a central plank of Labour’s education plans in its manifesto at last year’s general election, with pledges to introduce “free, lifelong education in colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life” as part of its National Education Service.