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Strike at Tower Hamlets college in row over pay

29 August 2019

Staff at the Tower Hamlets branch of New City College will walk out on strike tomorrow in their sixth day of action as part of an ongoing row over pay and conditions.

The walkout falls during the college's enrolment period when prospective students will be attending the campus to register for courses.

Members of UCU will be on picket lines from 8am at the New City College campus's main entrance on Poplar High Street, where they will be joined by UCU general secretary Jo Grady.

As part of the row over pay and conditions, UCU members also staged a three-day walkout in May and took a further two days of strike action in June, after 97% of members supported strike action in the ballot.

The dispute centres on the college's failure 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 the college could not hide behind government cuts when it came to staff pay, and urged it to follow the lead of the Capital City College Group which agreed a 5% pay deal for its 1,700 staff in London.

UCU members at the college are also calling for action to tackle rising workloads, as well as improvements to contracts and formal recognition for trade unions. The union said the support for the strikes shows that staff are not prepared to stand by and watch their pay and conditions decline.

UCU regional support official Caroline Lake said: 'Strike action is never taken lightly but the fact that UCU members at New City College have taken six days of strike action shows they will not simply stand by and watch their pay and conditions decline.

'The college cannot continue to hide behind government cuts when it comes to staff pay. Instead it should follow the lead of other colleges who have worked with us to address members' concerns and improve pay and conditions.'

Last updated: 17 September 2019