Staff at a college embroiled in a bitter contracts row have delivered a vote of no confidence in their chief executive and chair of governors.
At a meeting last night, around 110 members of the University and College Union unanimously backed the motion which said the “continued mismanagement” by Nottingham College’s top leaders has “caused extreme harm and distress to staff and students”.
It came just hours after the college’s chief executive, John van de Laarschot (pictured above right), said news of another 14 days of strikes planned for November was “extremely disappointing” and warned it would “serve only to increase the detrimental impact on our students”.
He added: “We are committed to ongoing dialogue and action to resolve the situation but we need our striking teachers to return to work.”
Staff at Nottingham College, whose chair of governors is Carole Thorogood (pictured above left), will have already walked out for 15 days in September and October by the end of this week.
UCU members at the college say they have been forced out on strike because of the college’s attempts to impose “inferior” contracts that will cut holiday entitlement and see some staff take a pay cut.
Andrew Harden, UCU’s head of further education, said: “This unanimous motion of no confidence shows the strength of feeling amongst our members that the management’s position is becoming increasing untenable.
“Industrial action is always a last resort for members but the college’s refusal to negotiate in good faith has left staff with no alternative but to announce further action.”
He added: “The ball now firmly in the college’s court. They know what is required to resolve the dispute and there is no good reason for the college not to reach an agreement and let staff get back to work.”
A Nottingham College spokesperson said: “We’ve made a series of significant concessions specifically to address concerns relating to trust, pay and workload. We have not reneged on any commitments made – we have conceded and improved the offer on all points of issue and were hopeful that this would succeed in ending strike action.
“A number of options are now on the table for both UCU and the college and we are currently reviewing our position and looking at these options, as well as any possible alternative solutions.
“Our priority is our students and ensuring they suffer no further detriment to their studies. We are keen to get back round the table as soon as possible.”
The 110 UCU members represents 20 per cent of Nottingham College’s current full-time and “sessional” teaching staff, which currently sits at around 550.