UCU members at Nottingham College are in dispute with their management over an attempt to impose new contracts. The new contract involves a pay decrease for some; a removal of key policies and procedures from the contract for all; and an increase of teaching hours. This is to be achieved by simply not having any limit on weekly teaching hours. To make matters even worse, the management have told all staff that they will be dismissed and re-engaged on the new contract if they fail to sign voluntarily.
These bullying tactics are being instigated by a principal who has no experience of Further Education but still feels justified in pocketing a salary in excess of £200,000 per year.
UCU are fighting back. After an unprecedentedly high ballot turnout and ‘Yes’ vote, members took a day of strike action to boycott their annual CPD event, setting up their own alternative Festival outside the college. This was a day that involved the whole city of Nottingham. Members of the trades council, local Labour Party councillors and leading members of sister trade unions all gave their support and there were at least 150 UCU members from the college on the picket lines.
The branch have since met and have unanimously decided to take a rolling programme of 15 days strike action starting in the Autumn term.
It is crucial for all members of UCU, whether they are currently employed in Further or Higher Education, that our friends at Nottingham College win this dispute. The scale of the attacks are so enormous that many of us believe that they represent an existential threat to the college: many staff will simply leave the organisation, as the proposed workload is impossible to manage.
We hope that all UCU members will do whatever they can to support these colleagues.
Railene Barker and Alan Barker
Please send messages of support to Railene Barker