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Barnet & Southgate College

Strike action on the cards at Barnet & Southgate College as staff vote for industrial action over low pay

3 April 2023

Staff at Barnet and Southgate College have voted to take industrial action in a long-running dispute over low pay and workload, the University and College Union (UCU) announced today (Monday).

Staff were balloted last month and voted 96% in favour of strike action on a turnout of 67%. 

Staff have already taken three days of strike action in the long-running dispute after college bosses imposed pay awards of just 1% for 2021/22 and 1% for 2020/21. The college has now imposed a further "pitiful" pay award of just 2.5% for 2022/23.   

National funding for 16-19 year olds has increased by 8.4% this year and college accounts show Barnet and Southgate generated a surplus of over £2.6m in 2022, has almost £8m in cash sitting in the bank and more than £43m in reserves. Inflation is currently 13.4% and UCU is demanding a meaningful pay rise to help staff meet the cost-of-living crisis.

A UCU report shows the vast majority of college staff in England 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.  

UCU regional support official Caroline Lake said: 'This fantastic ballot result shows staff at Barnet and Southgate College are more determined than ever to fight for a fair pay award. Soaring inflation is pushing our members into poverty and derisory pay offers from management have only strengthened their resolve. 

'Our members are struggling financially, so it is scandalous that bosses think they can get away with imposing a pitifully low 2.5% pay rise, which amounts to a huge real terms pay cut. College management must recognise the strength of feeling and resolve of our members, take their views on board and offer them a proper pay rise or face the disruption of industrial action.' 

Last updated: 5 May 2023