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Strike ballot opens at Darlington College over low pay

2 November 2022

UCU members at Darlington College are being balloted for strike action in a dispute over low pay. The ballot opened on Monday and will run until Monday 14 November.

The ballot comes after the employer imposed a pay award of just 1% alongside a one off payment of £250. RPI is currently at 12.6% so the award means staff pay has fallen dramatically behind inflation.

UCU is demanding a pay award of at least 10% to help staff meet the cost-of-living crisis. Staff at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, have just won a deal worth 9.2% for the majority of college lecturers.

This summer, UCU produced a report that shows the vast majority of college staff are financially insecure, impacting the mental health of more than eight in 10 with many being forced to skip meals and restrict hot water use to save money.  Seven in 10 said they will leave the sector unless pay and working conditions improve.

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. A series of below inflation pay offers now means staff pay has fallen behind inflation by over 35% since 2009.

UCU regional support official Chris Robinson said: 'It is completely unacceptable for Darlington College to offer staff just 1% more in their pay packets when inflation is soaring. Years of below inflation pay awards have left our members financially insecure, now the cost-of-living crisis is upon us they face being pushed into poverty. We have no choice other than to ballot members to take strike action.'

Last updated: 2 November 2022