Staff have walked out at colleges across England after members of the University and College Union (UCU) voted for strike action over pay disputes.
In their 2018-19 pay claim, the unions representing college employees asked for a pay rise of 5 per cent or a fixed increase of £1,500 for staff earning less than £30,000 per year. The Association of Colleges (AoC) made a final offer of a 1 per cent increase, or £250 for staff earning less than £25,000 a year.
The UCU subsequently balloted its members at 110 colleges. Staff at 16 colleges met the 50 per cent turnout threshold for legal strike action to take place.
The strikes at 11 colleges will be for 48 hours from 29 January, while at Leicester College action will be held on 29 and 31 January, and at Kendal College, UCU members will walk out on 29 January and 12 February. The two-day walkout at Hugh Baird College in Merseyside was suspended after an eleventh-hour pay deal was reached. The strike at Coventry College has also been suspended, pending further talks.
Abingdon and Witney College
Jeannie AWC chair talks at rally pic.twitter.com/XMJTO5yGrB— UCUSOUTHWEST (@UCUSOUTHWEST) January 29, 2019
@UCU @UCUYorks_Humber @UCUBradfordColl #fefightsback Our members need a pay rise. 1% in 10 years is not good enough. Staff have seen the value of their take home pay eroded by 25% in 10 years. Not good enough 👎 pic.twitter.com/Zff7c6uZHz— Julie Kelley is working at home (@julieke070368) January 29, 2019
Bridgwater and Taunton College
City of Wolverhampton College
East Sussex College
Go Leicester college; proud to champion my Midlands comrades. Fighting for fair pay and the well being of our students & workers. In solidarity @ucu @OurUcu @UcuLeft @SidUnite pic.twitter.com/h30WFOAZg5— Nita Sanghera (@nita_sanghera) January 29, 2019
PETROC pickets smiling in the rain pic.twitter.com/Avo66EucbQ— UCUSOUTHWEST (@UCUSOUTHWEST) January 29, 2019
West Thames College
Great to support staff outside West Thames College this morning who were on strike over pay.— Ruth Cadbury MP 💙 (@RuthCadbury) January 29, 2019
College staff earn £7,000 less than teachers, and have seen value of pay decrease by 25% in last 10 years.
Govt need to invest in FE rather than cutting to the bone.#FEfightsback @ucu pic.twitter.com/X6tjl2f3N8