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Strike off at Bury College as staff win big last minute pay offer

18 May 2022

Strike action scheduled to start today at Bury College was called off after staff overwhelmingly voted to accept an eleventh hour pay offer from management that is worth between 6% and 6.2% overall. The offer is triple management's original offer of only 2%.

UCU welcomed the improved offer and called on the five colleges that are seeing strike action today, as well as The Manchester College, which will face strike action on Friday (20 May), to urgently make pay offers to avoid continued disruption during the examination period.

The five colleges facing strike action today are:

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

Tomorrow staff at those five colleges 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 23 May.

Staff are on picket lines at college entrances today, an online rally is taking place at 1pm today with UCU general secretary Jo Grady, and an in-person rally will take place at 11am on Friday 20 May near the Openshaw Campus of The Manchester College.

Today's strike is taking place the same day that many students are sitting their GCSE English language exam.

UCU is demanding the other colleges follow Bury's example and make improved pay offers 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.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: 'The offer made by Bury College in recognition of our members' incredible work is great news for both staff and students. It means the college is now able to avoid disruption during this crucial examination period.

'To avoid further strike action, management at the other colleges need to look at Bury and see what can be achieved when bosses engage with us on pay. With inflation and energy costs soaring, they urgently need to raise pay so we can avoid any further disruption.'

Last updated: 19 May 2022