Industrial action

Strike votes open at 33 colleges

Industrial ballots opened today and will close on July 15

Industrial ballots opened today and will close on July 15

14 Jun 2022, 11:22

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Strikes are on the cards at another 33 colleges as a dispute over low pay and “unmanageable” workload rages on.

Industrial ballots were opened by University and College Union branches across England (see full list below) today and will close on July 15.

It comes a month after the Association of Colleges recommended that its members offer staff a 2.25 per cent pay rise in 2022/23.

This was the highest pay recommendation since 2014, but well below the call from unions for a 10 per cent rise.

The UCU said that since 2009 college staff have seen their pay fall behind inflation by more than 35 per cent and three in four from a survey of more than 2,232 college staff say their workload has increased significantly over the past three years.

It is estimated by the joint trade unions that extra FE funding announcements in recent years mean that colleges now have an “additional £400 million that is completely free to spend on staff compared with 2019-20”.

But AoC chief executive David Hughes said that colleges cannot afford anything more than a 2.25 per cent pay rise next year because his members are “reeling from a decade of cuts and are now being hit by soaring inflation which has eaten away at any recent uptick in funding”.

Six colleges in the north west faced disruption during exams last month as staff took to the picket line to strike over pay. But two were called off after last-minute pay offers worth up to 7.5 per cent at Hopwood Hall College and 6 per cent at Bury College were accepted.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Our members must not pay the price of sky-high inflation. We will not accept staff having pay held down whilst the cost of putting petrol in the tank, heating the home and feeding loved ones soars. With three in four staff also facing dangerously high workloads we have no choice but to proceed to a ballot for strike action.”

The 33 colleges being balloted are:

  1. Abingdon and Witney College
  2. Bath College
  3. Blackburn College
  4. Bournemouth and Poole College
  5. Bournville College of FE
  6. Bridgwater and Taunton College
  7. Carlisle College
  8. Chichester College Group – Chichester
  9. Chichester College Group – Crawley
  10. City College Plymouth
  11. City of Bristol College
  12. Croydon College
  13. Derby College
  14. East Sussex Cllege Group – Hastings
  15. East Sussex College Group (SDC)
  16. Exeter College
  17. Halesowen College
  18. Hereward College of FE
  19. Lambeth College
  20. Lewisham College – Deptford
  21. Lewisham College – Lewisham Way
  22. New College Swindon
  23. Newcastle College
  24. Sandwell College of FHE
  25. South & City College Birmingham
  26. Southwark College
  27. Sparsholt College Hampshire (inc Andover College)
  28. Strode College
  29. Truro and Penwith College
  30. West Lancashire College
  31. Weston College
  32. Wiltshire College
  33. Yeovil College

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One comment

  1. English teacher

    Only 33 colleges? Action on mass is what’s needed – all students and staff making a stand together. Including principals! Being nice and signing AoC letters clearly isn’t working. Principals should be standing with us on the picket line.