West Thames College strike days this year hit double figures

Staff at two colleges will go on strike again this week as part of an ongoing row over pay – with one recording its tenth day this year.

Members of the University and College Union at West Thames College and New City College will be on the picket line from 7am tomorrow, with the Tower Hamlets branch of the latter also taking a further day of action on Thursday.

The latest walkouts by West Thames College staff means its strike days have now hit double figures for 2019. The dispute, according to the UCU, 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 per cent in the past decade”.

Staff at the college walked out for four days last month, following action in January and March.

Members of the UCU at New City College also went on strike for three days in May.

The union said further strikes were planned if the colleges refused to make a decent offer, and that they could “not hide behind government cuts if it wanted to avoid further disruption”.

It comes after the UCU formally submitted its annual pay claim to the Association of Colleges last month, which calls for: £1 extra per hour for all staff, the living wage to be the minimum wage in further education, and an additional five days’ annual leave per year.

UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “UCU members at West Thames College and New City College are not prepared to stand by and allow their colleges to hold down their pay.

“It is simply not acceptable for the college to say that nothing can be done because finances are tight. Other colleges have shown what can be achieved when they engage seriously with us to address members’ concerns over pay and conditions.”