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Strike action date confirmed at Kirklees College

12 June 2013

Members of UCU at Kirklees College will be on strike next week (Thursday 20 June).

In a ballot of members at the college, four-fifths (79%) who those who voted, voted for strike action and 92% backed action short of a strike, which could include a refusal to do unpaid overtime.

Almost 60 staff face pay cuts of between £2,000 and £12,000 a year or detrimental changes to their terms and conditions and six staff are still at risk of losing their jobs. The union is calling on the college to remove the threat of compulsory redundancies and stop the downgrading of staff onto inferior contracts.

The college has come under fire for the delayed completion and mismanagement of two new buildings in Huddersfield due to open in September. The college plunged its reserves into the projects and now says the first £2m of earnings in future years will have to be spent on capital and interest repayments on mortgages and loans.

UCU said that prioritising buildings over staff, students and the quality of education was poor reward for staff who, just months ago, helped the college attain an outstanding OFSTED Grade 1 report. The union said it was particularly worried about the impact the proposed changes would have on students with low levels of literacy and numeracy and those with learning disabilities, as this is the area likely to be hit hardest by pay cuts and downgrades.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'UCU members have made it quite clear that they are prepared to take industrial action to defend their pay and the education of their students. Strike action is always a last resort, but there is a genuine anger about the way the college has mismanaged recent events.

'Style is never a replacement for substance and fewer teachers with bigger classes and increased workloads are a poor return for new buildings and scant reward for staff who worked so hard to deliver a glowing OFSTED report.

'If the college is allowed to push these changes through local students will suffer - especially those who require additional support with their literacy and numeracy skills and their main studies. It's the department who provides the specialist support to those students that would bear the brunt of these cuts.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015