Friday, 27 March 2009

FE pay – more strikes hit remaining target IOU colleges:

Members at four of the target IOU colleges delivered two more days of strike action as they escalated their campaigns for pay justice. Members were out in force at College of North-West London, Dearne Valley, Doncaster and Rotherham Colleges. The days’ activity included picketing and even an ‘Alternative Open Day’ at College of North-West London, in strikers held a day of alternative classes offering the opportunity to ‘build a computer in 10 minutes’ as well as providing masterclasses in plumbing and how to be a success in enterprise. All four colleges have categorically refused to honour a ground-breaking national pay deal, which was thrashed out in 2004, that should have a left a mid-ranking further education lecturer earning £4,511 more a year.

UCU head of further education, Barry Lovejoy, said: “The colleges only have themselves to blame for today’s disruption. The staff are not greedy; they are merely asking for the money they should have been paid four years ago. It is the intransigence of the ‘IOU colleges’ that has pushed members' patience too far and forced them into today’s industrial action".
News of the strikes featured on BBC Radio Sheffield, where UCU Regional Official for Yorkshire and Humberside Russ Escritt was interviewed. There were also reports on Trax FM, and Rother FM , and in the following publications: - Sheffield Star - Yorkshire Post - BBC News website - South Yorkshire Times - Sheffield Telegraph

On the eve of the strike, there was good news as members at Sussex Downs College voted overwhelmingly to lift the threat of strike action following management agreement to open talks on implementing the 2004 pay agreement. Only a handful of the original 18 target colleges are now still outstanding and UCU is now planning the next phase of the campaign to ensure that the last remaining colleges are brought on board and to widen the campaign out.

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