Strike action in higher education

Strike ballots open as Bradford College threatens over 130 jobs

4 June 2019

Members of UCU at Bradford College have today begun balloting for strike action as part of a dispute over plans to cut 132 jobs

The job cuts have been proposed by the college in a bid to save money following previous financial bailouts, but UCU said that the loss of valuable expertise would hit students the hardest and mean fewer opportunities for the people of Bradford. Local politicians have come out against the plans to cut jobs, with Bradford South MP Judith Cummins branding the potential job losses 'shameful' and MP for Bradford East Imran Hussain saying the college's students 'deserve staff who are both well paid and valued'.

UCU members are also being balloted for industrial action in a separate dispute over pay, as part of a row that saw staff at the college walk out in March. Staff at Bradford College have had only one 1% pay rise in the past 11 years and have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% over the last decade.

The union said its members had been left with no choice but to ballot for strike action on both issues, and has urged the college to come back to the negotiating table to discuss alternatives to the planned job cuts and to sort out the unacceptable situation with pay.

The two ballots open today and will close on Tuesday 18 June.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: 'Job cuts will ultimately hit students the hardest. They would mean fewer learning opportunities for the people of Bradford, and a huge loss of valuable expertise at the college. Industrial action is always a last resort but our members feel they have been left with no option but to ballot for strike action in order to defend jobs and pay. We want Bradford College to halt its damaging plans, rule out compulsory redundancies and work with us to develop alternative approaches and address members' concerns.'

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