Industrial action

London college group settles pay dispute after strike

The union has agreed to pay staff extra and scrap an 'open classroom model'

The union has agreed to pay staff extra and scrap an 'open classroom model'

One of England’s largest college groups has settled a pay and conditions dispute with the University and College Union.

Capital City College Group (CCCG) faced ten days of strike action this year. It has now agreed to a one-off £700 pay award for all staff in December, ahead of negotiations after Easter 2022 on a pay rise.

UCU London official Adam Lincoln said: “This deal is a testament to our members’ determination to fight for fairer pay, working conditions and against excessive monitoring and surveillance of staff.”

The London-based college group, which includes City and Islington College, College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), and Westminster Kingsway College, had attempted to implement a new “open classroom model”, according to the UCU.

This, the union said, would have allowed lecturers to be observed at any time by any manager and linked their performance in these observations to their job’s future.

The new deal means lecturers will instead receive 15-to-20-minute visits three times a year, not linked to their future prospects, and lecturers will be pre-notified about the visits.

Deal also includes extra pay and holiday

Additionally, CONEL’s lecturers will be put on a London weighting worth £1,700 and be moved onto a CCCG contract which is worth an extra £1,500 to their pay packets plus three additional days’ holiday, which will bring them in line with CCCG’s other colleges’ staff.

“We hope the settlement of this dispute will now pave the way for a more positive working relationship and improved future negotiations on pay and conditions at CCCG,” Lincoln said.

College leaders and the union have agreed to establish a working group to look at ways to reduce workload and administrative tasks.

Negotiations over learning support assistant and hourly-paid lecturer contracts will also be commenced.

This comes after Croydon College and South Thames College Group put forward pay increases and benefits such as extra leave earlier this month. CCCG is the last to settle its dispute with the union.

CCCG previously granted staff an up to five per cent pay rise in November 2018.

The group then generated a £10 million deficit in 2018/19, surprising leaders after they had budgeted for a £750,000 surplus.

It recorded a £4.2 million operating loss in 2019/20.

Capital City College Group chief executive Roy O’Shaughnessy said: “We are pleased that we and our UCU colleagues have reached an agreement.

“Both sides made concessions during the negotiations, and we’re pleased that we are now able to give our staff a well-deserved pay award, without comprising our financial position and security, and that we’re making progress to reduce the workload for our teachers.

“We are also glad that the end of the dispute also mitigates future disruption to our students’ education.”

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