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Strikes at Bradford College tomorrow are on as college refuses to talk

19 March 2019 | last updated: 21 March 2019

Members of UCU at Bradford College will be taking three days' strike action from tomorrow in a row over pay and conditions.

Staff will be on picket lines from 8am on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday outside the David Hockney Building at the Bradford College site on Great Horton Road. By the end of the week, UCU members at Bradford College will have taken seven days of strike action this academic year.

The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% over the last decade. In a recent ballot of UCU members, nine in 10 (89%) of staff at Bradford College who voted backed strikes.

The union said it was angry that the college had refused to engage in any meaningful talks to try and resolve the issue since the last walkout in January. The college appeared to at last be willing to talk when it emailed the union at the end of last week about potential talks. However, the union tried three times yesterday (Monday) and once today (Tuesday) to arrange something ahead of tomorrow's action and the college has refused to engage.

UCU said the college needed to stop playing games and put staff and students first. The union said if the college had any interest in avoiding disruption it should follow the likes of Capital City College Group and Hugh Baird College, who recently agreed deals for their staff to address low pay and improve conditions.

UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: 'Strike action is always a last resort, but it is clear that Bradford College has no interest in working with us to prioritise its staff and avoid disruption. We have tried to arrange talks ahead of this action, but the college did not respond and then refused to meet.

'Colleges who engage with us on the pay and conditions of their staff will receive a positive hearing, but those who refuse will face serious disruption. It is time for Bradford to stop playing games and put staff and students first. Other colleges have proved what is possible when they work with UCU and Bradford should follow their lead.'

The three-day strike is the third time UCU members at Bradford have walked out this academic year after staff at six colleges, including Bradford, took two days' action in November and then 13 colleges, again including Bradford,walked out for two days in January. The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000 and around two-thirds of college heads have said pay is a major obstacle in attracting staff.