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Richmond Picket

Staff vote to escalate strikes as local MP calls on Richmond upon Thames College to withdraw fire and rehire threat

27 May 2022

UCU confirmed staff at Richmond upon Thames College have voted to take further strike action in a dispute over fire and rehire that has already seen five days of strikes, with new dates to be confirmed next week.

The college's constituency MP, Munira Wilson has now called on the college to withdraw the threat, saying: 'the fact that the college has issued a section 188 notice (which begins the consultation process to fire staff), whilst still in the process of negotiating with those affected, undermines their ability to negotiate in good faith. I have urged the college to withdraw the section 188 notice, as I believe this could help bring the strike to an early end and allow for an amicable settlement to be reached.'

The college wants to sack all 127 members of its teaching staff and make them reapply for their jobs on new contracts that would see them lose 10 days holiday. UCU had offered to pause any further action if management lifted the threat of compulsory dismissals for staff that do not sign new contracts. However, management repeatedly refused. Today, in a meeting with UCU, college principal Jason Jones rejected the union's offer once again.

Earlier this month an overwhelming 97% of UCU members who voted in the industrial ballots said yes to strike action. The turnout was 88%, smashing the Tory anti trade union legal threshold of 50%.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Our members at Richmond upon Thames College have voted unanimously to take further strike action in the dispute over disgraceful plans to fire and rehire 127 teachers.

'This week the college rejected UCU's offer of a way forward and has repeatedly refused to lift the threat of fire and rehire, which would allow for a negotiated outcome to be reached.

'The management at Richmond upon Thames College is becoming increasingly isolated and we are pleased to see local MP Munira Wilson join UCU in calling for the employer to lift the threat of fire and rehire.  

'Staff have made it clear that they will not have a gun put to their head by their employer and will move forward with escalating strike action and action short of a strike, the dates of which are to be confirmed.

'There is still time for management to do the right thing and prevent further disruption.'

Last updated: 27 May 2022