UCU strikes off at Bradford and Nottingham colleges

Bradford College has ended its dispute with staff, while Nottingham UCU members have suspended strikes after new offer

Julia Belgutay

UCU strikes called off at Bradford College and Nottingham College

A deal between staff and management has been agreed at Bradford College. This ends a long-running dispute at the college as it agrees to rule out compulsory redundancies and award staff an extra five days’ annual leave.

Staff on contracts paid by the hour will also be moved to permanent roles with increased security and better pay, according to the University and College Union (UCU). 

Background: Bradford College staff to hold three-day strike

More news: Nottingham College staff to strike over pay

Quick read: Strike at Bradford College suspended

UCU 'welcomes deal' at Bradford College

Members of the UCU  took a total of 10 days of strike action between November 2018 and July 2019, but the union has now said the deal will mean welcome security and improved pay for staff on contracts paid by the hour, as well as more holidays and the end of fears over compulsory redundancies.

The UCU added that the reliance on insecure contracts was a blight on education and called on other colleges to do more to end their use. A UCU report into casualisation found that seven in 10 (71 per cent) staff believed their mental health suffered as a result of being on an insecure contract.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: "This welcome deal at Bradford College improves the job security, status and pay for staff at the college. Insecure contracts are a blight on the sector and bad for both staff and students. Nobody ever wants to take strike action, but these improvements are a testament to members’ determination to fight for a fairer deal.

"Other places could learn from Bradford College and we hope institutions will work with us to end the blight of casualisation in our colleges and universities."

A spokesperson for Bradford College said: “The college has worked positively with Bradford College UCU and we are pleased with the outcomes that have been agreed as part of the negotiations. The Bradford College UCU has been in dispute with the college regarding no compulsory redundancies and failure to improve pay in line with the 2018-19 national pay claim.

“The dispute over no compulsory redundancies was ended early in the negotiations process, which was linked to the recent college restructure. To resolve the long running pay dispute, the college has awarded staff additional annual leave through college closures at Christmas and Easter and established a policy and agreement around anti-casualisation through a new contracts of employment policy."

The spokesperson added the executive leadership team recognised the commitment and dedication of all college employees, as well as the positive progress made with UCU in recent months.

Nottingham College strikes suspended

Meanwhile strikes scheduled to start tomorrow at Nottingham College have been suspended at an eleventh-hour meeting of UCU members. They had been due to walk out for 14 days this month, but have agreed to suspend the action for two weeks so they can consider a new offer from the college.

The long-running row centres on the college’s attempts to introduce what UCU describes as "inferior contracts that will cut holiday entitlement and see some staff take a pay cut". UCU members at the college walked out for 15 days in September and October and passed votes of no confidence in the CEO and chair of governors.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

Latest stories

A woman, sitting at a table, compiling a list

Why every teacher needs a list right now

In lockdown, many of the routines that surround our working day have evaporated. Sarah Ledger suggests a way to bring order and – maybe – joy to the tedium
Sarah Ledger 17 Jan 2021