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Oldham College strike will go ahead tomorrow despite management threats

3 October 2022

UCU confirmed strike action at Oldham College is legal and will go ahead tomorrow despite reported intimidation of staff by management.

The union's general secretary Jo Grady wrote to Oldham College UCU members today to reassure them UCU has discharged all its legal duties and that strike action at the college is completely lawful. The letter comes after multiple members told the union that college management is threatening staff with potential dismissal if they take strike action.

Staff at Oldham College are taking three consecutive days of strike action alongside Liverpool and Burnley colleges over low pay starting tomorrow. On Thursday (6 October 2022) they will be joined by dozens more colleges, including Blackburn and West Lancashire.

The strikes come during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation and after more than a decade of low pay has seen further education staff salaries fall 35% behind inflation since 2009. RPI is currently 12.3%, UCU is demanding pay rises that reflect the increases in the cost of living.

Last week, Oldham College's director of human resources wrote to UCU incorrectly arguing that as the college has imposed a paltry 2% pay award, its dispute with UCU was over and staff couldn't lawfully take strike action. UCU responded rejecting all of the college's arguments.

The Department for Education has announced £1.6bn in extra funding for further education and UCU estimates that colleges already have an additional £400m that is available to spend on staff compared with 2019-20.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: 'We believe Oldham College is trying to bully and intimidate our members to not go out on strike and we will not stand for it. The cost of living crisis is pushing many of our members into poverty. Yet rather than pay them fairly, management has responded with threats and a paltry 2% pay award.

'Our members will not be intimidated and they will be out on picket lines starting tomorrow. We urge management to stop threatening its own staff and to start paying them properly.'

Last updated: 5 October 2022