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New City College threatened with strike action over pay, workload and use of fire and rehire

17 June 2022

UCU members at New City College (NCC) are being balloted for industrial action from today over failures to agree pay rises, level up holiday leave and agree action to reduce workload. Staff are also threatening strike action against plans to fire and rehire 59 staff at Hackney Campus over changes to sick leave policy.

The ballot will run from 17 June until 15 July, and if successful could pave the way for strike action at campuses across East London. It follows an overwhelming 86% of UCU members indicating they would be prepared to back strike action in a consultative ballot with a turnout of 73%.  

New City College is the largest college group in East London - and the second largest in London - formed following mergers between Hackney Community College, Tower Hamlets College, Redbridge College, Epping Forest College, Havering Sixth Form College and Havering College of Further & Higher Education. 

The union is calling on the college to implement a pay rise of 10% across all campuses, as well as London weighting at its Epping Forest campus where staff are paid less than at the other campus sites.   

UCU also wants the college to agree measures to reduce workload, level up holidays and summer leave periods by five days and reach an agreement in relation to the Hackney College sickness absence policy. 

The employer is using fire and rehire tactics to threaten 59 members of staff at Hackney College with compulsory dismissal by October if they do not accept changes to their contracts around sick leave. 

As well as being balloted for strike action UCU members are also voting on whether to take action short of a strike by working strictly to contract and not performing additional voluntary duties. 

UCU regional official Adam Lincoln said: 'Strike action is a last resort for our members but they will not stand by and see their pay held down while workload continues to increase.  New City College must ensure a fair pay rise for staff, and commit to genuine measures to tackle unmanageable workload. 

'Fire and rehire is a sickening tactic used by some of the UK's worst employers and has no place in education. We call on New City College management to rethink its approach, lift the threat of compulsory dismissals and treat staff with the respect they deserve. Staff have made it clear that they will not have a gun put to their head by their employer. 

'Our members are united behind our pay and conditions claim and will move forward by balloting for strike action and action short of a strike.' 

Last updated: 17 June 2022