UCU members on strike at West Thames College

UCU members on strike at West Thames College, March 2019

Staff at West Thames College are today and tomorrow on strike after the college failed to make an improved pay offer.

In the absence of an improved offer, UCU members voted yesterday afternoon to continue their action. The latest walkouts by West Thames College staff will represent the eighth and ninth days of strike action by UCU members this year. They walked out for two days last week, following action in January and March. In the recent ballot, 100% of UCU members at West Thames College who voted backed strike action.

 The dispute centres on the failure of the college to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% in the past decade. The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000 and around two-thirds of college heads have said pay is a major obstacle in attracting staff.

The union said further strikes were planned if the college refused to make a decent offer and that it could not hide behind government cuts if it wanted to avoid further disruption. UCU said the college should follow the lead of the Capital City College Group which recently agreed a 5% pay deal for its 1,700 staff in London.

 UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “UCU members at West Thames College have made it clear that they will not stand by while the college refuses to pay them fairly. More action is planned for June as it is not acceptable for the college to say finances are tight and nothing can be done. Other colleges have shown what can be achieved when they engage seriously with us on pay and conditions.”

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