UCU members on strike at six colleges

UCU members on strike in Bath. Image by @UCUBath

UCU members are today on strike at six colleges across England as part of the union’s campaign for fair pay.

They are taking action in Bath, Bradford, Croydon, Lambeth, Swindon and Devon. Ballots will also be opening at a further 26 colleges today, including at Bridgwater & Taunton College, City of Bristol College and Strode College. The ballots will close on December 19.

Striking staff at Bath College were yesterday a boost as a local MP has given them her full support in their fight for fairer pay.

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said further education needs proper funding and the staff who work in colleges should be properly paid.

College staff are on picket lines outside the Avon Street entrance to the college from 8am on both days. The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen their pay decline by 25% in the past decade.

The pay gap between schoolteachers and teachers in colleges is now £7,000. In the recent ballot, over 87% of UCU members at the college who voted backed strike action.

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said: “Further education needs proper funding, and the staff who work in this vital area should be properly paid. I fully support UCU members taking industrial action in Bath.

“The government have completely ignored further education funding, a sector that time and time again proves that it’s a fantastic alternative to university, and does a great job in setting people up for fulfilling lives.”

UCU regional official Nick Varney said: “We are delighted that Wera Hobhouse has offered her full support to UCU members at Bath College. We are really encouraged by her support for decent college funding and better pay for staff.

“We hope the strikes this week will focus the college’s mind and they will come back to us and get the dispute sorted. Otherwise we are likely to see further disruption.”

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