Seven more days of strikes at Hull College Group

Staff at the Hull College Group will walk out for seven days in June as part of an ongoing bitter row over plans to slash hundreds of jobs.  

University and College Union members, who represent nearly 400 of HCG’s 1,200 workers, announced today that they will strike for an initial five days starting on June 18.

They will then return to work on June 25 before walking out for a further two days on the 26 and 27 of that month.  

The row centres on plans to cut 231 posts across the college group’s three campuses in Hull, Harrogate and Goole – a move which UCU says would lead to around a third of the workforce being cut.

Staff have already walked out for three days as part of the dispute in May, after they delivered a vote of no confidence in the group’s chief executive, Michelle Swithenbank.

The union said there had “not been sufficient progress in talks to secure members’ jobs and they felt they now had no option but to take more action”.

It added that the “ball was in the college’s court and hoped the fresh strike dates would focus their employers’ minds”.

“UCU members at Hull College Group feel they have no choice now but to take further action to focus their employers’ minds,” said UCU regional official, Julie Kelley.

“Strike action is never taken lightly, but the college is not responding to our concerns about the impact these cuts would have for staff, students and the local community.  

“There is a clear timetable now with disruption set for the end of June and we urge the college to respond positively and work with us to explore alternatives to the cuts.’”

The vote of no confidence in Ms Swithenbank was delivered last month, when the union said her position was untenable after a failure to defend jobs at the college, as well as alleged efforts to “bully and then bribe staff” first with legal action and then ice-creams to deter them from a protest on April 18.

“We can confirm the receipt of the ballot to strike, and should the proposed dates go ahead, we will do everything possible to avoid the obvious disruption to the important GCSE exams taking place,” said an HCG spokesperson.

“It is disappointing and unclear why this decision has been taken, following recent positive meetings outlining the successful reduction of proposed compulsory redundancies.”