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UCU calls off college strikes after talks

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The University and College Union has called off strikes at two colleges today after striking eleventh hour deals.

However, staff will still walk out at Bradford College in a row over job losses.

Talks at Mid Cheshire College, brokered by the conciliation service ACAS, resulted in a breakthrough yesterday afternoon.

The college has now said it will not issue any compulsory redundancy notices before September.

Meanwhile in Yorkshire, Barnsley College has agreed to explore the union’s new proposals aimed at improving job opportunities for staff at risk.

However, UCU members at Bradford College will still be walking out and making their way to Leeds for a lunchtime rally protesting about cuts to colleges.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, said: “Colleges are experiencing some financial difficulties at the moment, but the answer is to work with us to explore all the options available – not axe staff. We are pleased Barnsley and Mid Cheshire colleges responded positively today and strike action won’t be necessary there.

“Members will be walking out at Bradford College though, and then making their way to Leeds for a regional rally in defence of further education. Strike action is always a last resort but, in the face of redundancies and lost opportunities, members feel there is no other option.”

Earlier this year the union warned colleges to expect escalating action over local disputes involving jobs, pay and conditions.

The past month has seen the union strike at Lewisham Southwark College and The Sheffield College over proposed job cuts.

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