Staff deliver unanimous vote of no confidence in Nottingham College CEO and chair of governors

9 October 2019

Staff at Nottingham College have delivered a damning vote of no confidence in their CEO and chair of governors.

Members of UCU at a members' meeting last night unanimously backed the motion that said staff had no confidence in CEO John van de Laarschot or the chair of governors Carole Thorogood. The motion said their 'continued mismanagement of the college' has 'caused extreme harm and distress to staff and students'.

Staff say they have been forced out on strike because of the college's attempts to impose inferior contracts that will cut holiday entitlement and see some staff take a pay cut. UCU members will have walked out for 15 days in September and October by the end of this week and have announced plans for another 14 strike days in November.

The move comes after CEO John van de Laarschot said he was frustrated about the strikes and told striking staff to "to think seriously about what they are doing".

The union says that the college has now also backtracked on a commitment to limit teaching hours to 24 hours a week while a new contract is negotiated. UCU says the college's refusal to negotiate in good faith has left members with no alternative but to announce more strike dates.

UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: 'This unanimous motion of no confidence shows the strength of feeling amongst our members that the management's position is becoming increasing untenable. Industrial action is always a last resort for members but the college's refusal to negotiate in good faith has left staff with no alternative but to announce further action.

'The ball now firmly in the college's court. They know what is required to resolve the dispute and there is no good reason for the college not to reach an agreement and let staff get back to work.'

The second wave of strikes will consist of three and four-day walkouts over a four-week period covering most of November. The full strike dates for the second wave are:

  • Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 November

  • Monday 11, Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 November

  • Monday 18, Wednesday 20 and Friday 22 November

  • Monday 25, Tuesday 26, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November.

UCU says some staff have already been bullied into signing new contracts. In June, staff who felt they had been bullied into signing new contracts wrote anonymous letters to college governors setting out the damage the new contracts were causing them and their students.

In the strike ballot, 96% of union members who voted backed strikes. Support for the strikers appears to be growing outside the college as well as almost 4,000 people have now signed a petition calling for Nottingham College staff to be given the contracts they deserve.

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