Nottingham College will be hit with another 14 strike days from Tuesday 5 November after striking staff today (Tuesday) announced plans for further action after half-term, and accused the college of reneging on promises over workloads.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) entered their fourth week of strike action yesterday (Monday) and will have walked out for a total of 15 days this academic year, with a full five days of strikes this week.
The increasingly bitter dispute centres on the college’s plans to impose contracts which would leave some staff more than £1,000 a year worse off, as well as reducing holiday entitlement and removing protections against work overload. Staff at the college have not received a pay rise since 2010.
The union says that the college has now backtracked on a commitment to limit teaching hours to 24 hours a week while a new contract is negotiated. UCU says the college’s refusal to negotiate in good faith has left members with no alternative but to announce more strike dates.
The second wave of strikes will consist of three and four-day walkouts over a four-week period covering most of November. The full strike dates for the second wave are:
· Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 November
· Monday 11, Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 November
· Monday 18, Wednesday 20 and Friday 22,
· Monday 25, Tuesday 26, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November
UCU says some staff have already been ‘bullied into signing new contracts.’
In June, staff who felt they had been bullied into signing new contracts wrote anonymous letters to college governors setting out the damage the new contracts were causing them and their students.
In the strike ballot, 96% of union members who voted backed strikes. Support for the strikers appears to be growing outside the college as well as almost 4,000 people have now signed a petition calling for Nottingham College staff to be given the contracts they deserve.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘For months we have been trying to negotiate with the college, but it has refused to budge and has forced staff to take this unprecedented action. The college’s refusal to work with us has left staff with no choice but to continue their action.
‘The support for the strikes among staff and from elsewhere has been really encouraging. UCU members have made it clear that they are willing to fight against inferior contracts that will ultimately diminish the learning experience for students in Nottingham.’
UCU members will be back out on strike again tomorrow, and every day this week. Activities will be taking on place on the picket lines outside the Maid Marian Way campus tomorrow from 7:30am, at the Clarendon Campus from 7:30am on Thursday and at Basford Hall from 7:30am on Friday.