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Colleges across North West England take strike action from tomorrow

17 May 2022

UCU members across the North West of England will be on strike tomorrow in a dispute over low pay.

The six colleges facing a day of strike action on Wednesday 18 May are:

  • Burnley College  
  • Bury College  
  • City of Liverpool College
  • Hopwood Hall  
  • Nelson & Colne College Group  
  • Oldham College

Staff at The Manchester College will take strike action on Friday 20 May.

From Thursday 19 May staff will also be taking action short of strike, which includes working to contract, not covering for absent colleagues or vacant posts, and not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action. Staff at The Manchester College will begin action short of a strike on Monday 23rd May.

Staff will be a picket lines at college entrances from 8am on the day of the strikes and an in-person rally will take place at 11am on Friday 20 May near the Openshaw Campus of The Manchester College.

UCU expects around 900 staff across the seven colleges to down tools, and over 50,000 students could be impacted. The strike will take place the same day that many students are due to sit their GCSE English language exam. If the strike goes ahead exams will be disrupted.

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.

In 2021, the Westminster government announced an 8.4% increase in funding targeted at those in England aged 16-17 years old, the biggest rise in funding for further education in more than decade and coming after £240m in additional funding announced in 2018. 

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: 'Our members take huge pride in educating and supporting students, and striking during exams is a last resort, but staff are rightly outraged that their bosses have repeatedly held down pay. Now as inflation and energy costs soar, bosses urgently need to raise pay so we can avoid any further disruption. The money is there and college leaders need to show they appreciate their staff, we urge employers to do the right thing and give staff a pay rise'

Last updated: 18 May 2022