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Strike ballots open at six colleges over low pay

21 March 2022

Strike ballots at six colleges in the north west of England opened today as UCU told college leaders they must raise staff pay.

Over 1,000 UCU members will be balloted at the following six colleges to take strike action in support of an 'inflation plus' pay claim of at least 8.5% for 2021/22:

  1. Burnley College
  2. Bury College
  3. Hopwood Hall College
  4. City of Liverpool College
  5. Nelson & Colne College
  6. Oldham College

The industrial ballots come after UCU members overwhelmingly indicated they were prepared to back strike action in consultative ballots1. The industrial ballots close on Monday 11 April, and if successful, strike action could begin next month. UCU said college leaders must act now if they want to avoid the disruption of strike action, which will otherwise impact up to 40k students.

UCU is demanding the colleges increase pay by at least 8.5% to meet the cost of living crisis. Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35% and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9k. Westminster recently announced the biggest increase in further education funding in more than a decade. As the cost of living crisis bites, one college has granted its staff access to campus foodbanks. UCU called this an indictment of the entire sector and said that instead of advising staff to use foodbanks, college leaders need to offer them a proper pay rise.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: 'We have been left with no choice but to begin balloting for strike action at colleges across the North West of England after employers repeatedly ignored our requests for a proper pay rise.

'Due to soaring inflation staff now face a cost of living crisis. We believe these colleges can afford to pay staff more. College leaders need to do the right thing and give staff a decent pay rise before ballots close, or they risk strike action.'

1 Consultative ballot results:



Yes Vote to Strike Action

Hopwood Hall College



Bury College



Burnley College



Oldham College



City of Liverpool College



Nelson & Colne College



Last updated: 22 March 2022