College to stay open as usual during ‘mammoth’ 15-day strike

Nottingham College has said it will be open as usual during 15-days of strike action by the University and College Union, including two full weeks of industrial action.

College staff will be on picket lines from Wednesday 11 September to Friday 11 October after members voted to stage a one-day walkout which will escalate to strikes of two, three, four and five days in subsequent weeks.

The action has come about because of a dispute centring on a move by the college, the UCU says, to impose new contracts which leave over 80 staff more than £1,000 a year worse off, and remove protections for staff against work overload.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: “UCU members at Nottingham College are rightly furious at the college’s attempts to force staff into these damaging new contracts.

“These changes increase the risk that staff will burn out or simply leave the college, impacting on the student experience.

“Strike action is always a last resort, but staff are sending a clear message that they will not tolerate this attack on their pay and conditions and the college’s uncompromising approach has only hardened their resolve.”

She said that following Sajid Javid’s announcement of a £400 million funding boost for colleges last week, “the college cannot use funding as an excuse for refusing to address members’ concerns”, after staff have not received a raise since 2010.

But despite this action, a Nottingham College spokesperson said the college will be open as usual through any industrial action: “Everybody in the college cares passionately about providing our students with the best possible education, training and personal development and the last thing anybody wants is a strike.

“We have already reached collective agreement with UNISON and NEU and we remain in discussion with UCU in the hope that we can resolve remaining issues and reach an agreement.”

The full strike dates are:

  • This week: Wednesday 11 September
  • Week 2: Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September
  • Week 3: Monday 23, Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 September
  • Week 4: Monday 30 September, Tuesday 1, Thursday 3, and Friday 4 October
  • Week 5: Monday 7, Tuesday 8, Wednesday 9, Thursday 10 and Friday 11 October