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Strikes on at West Thames and New City College this week over pay

3 June 2019 | last updated: 4 June 2019

Staff at West Thames College and New City College are on strike again this week as part of an ongoing row over pay.

Members of UCU will be on picket lines at both colleges from 7am tomorrow. UCU members at the Tower Hamlets branch of New City College will also take a further day of action on Thursday (6 June).

Pickets will take place outside the London Road entrances to West Thames College's Isleworth campus, and at the New City College campuses' main entrances on Poplar High Street and Arbour Square.

The latest walkouts by West Thames College staff represents the tenth day of strike action by UCU members this year there this year. They walked out for four days last month, following action in January and March. In the recent ballot, 100% of UCU members at West Thames College who voted backed strike action.

Staff at New City College's Tower Hamlets branch also staged a three-day walkout last month over pay, after 97% of members supported strike action in a recent ballot.

The dispute centres on the failure of the colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% in the past decade. 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.

The union said further strikes were planned if the colleges refused to make a decent offer to their staff, and that they could not hide behind government cuts if it wanted to avoid further disruption. UCU said the colleges should follow the lead of the Capital City College Group which recently agreed a 5% pay deal for its 1,700 staff in London.

UCU regional official Una O'Brien said: 'UCU members at West Thames College and New City College are not prepared to stand by and allow their colleges to hold down their pay. It is simply not acceptable for the college to say that nothing can be done because finances are tight. Other colleges have shown what can be achieved when they engage seriously with us to address members' concerns over pay and conditions.'

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