UCU members were on picket lines across all five of the college’s sites as the college faced its first strike action for over 30 years over new contracts.
The union estimates that the new contracts would give the college around an extra 30,000 teaching hours a year. The college has refused to say what the majority of extra hours would be used for, but the union fears they could lead to redundancies; something the college has refused to rule out.
“ The strike is going very well, we have more people out than we expected, we have pickets on 10 gates at 3 campuses. After years of inaction the threat of the principles plan to create 30,000 extra teacher hours, which would result in redundancies was enough to stir staff in to action. All staff were sent a letter yesterday saying they had 1 week to sign the new contract or they will have deemed to have terminated their contract.
The principle who is the darling of the Tories will also have the right to change the contract at any time without consultation. We are fight for the college to return to the negotiation table to resolve this issue as an increase from 21 hours to 26 hours is not workable, it could even be 35 hours would leave no work life balance.”
Interview with Shane Hall by Steve Glennon
UCU News on the strike.