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Staff at North East college group renew strike mandate with yes vote

18 April 2024

Staff at five colleges in Cleveland, Redcar and Stockton-on-Tees have again voted to strike renewing their mandate to take action.

An overwhelming 94% of members who voted said yes to strike action in a ballot that with a turnout that beat the anti-trade union threshold of 50%.

The strike vote is the latest escalation in the long running dispute over the 22/23 pay award. It comes after staff took six days of strike action and rejected employer Education Training Collective's (ETC) latest offer. This did not include any improvement on pay and was limited to an extra two "wellbeing days" and additional points on the lecturer and course leader pay scales starting on Thursday 1 August 2024. ETC's position on pay remains that it wants staff to accept a paltry increase of just 3% for 22/23, with an additional 1% from May 2023.

ETC, which runs Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training Group, Stockton Riverside College, The Skills Academy, and Redcar and Cleveland College, has over £6 million in the bank, and in 2022, over £300k went to college principals.

UCU regional support official Chris Robinson said: 'Our members have voted yes and renewed our strike mandate for a further six months. It took the employer six days of strike action to put any kind of offer on the table last time, it cannot continue to bury its head in the sand. Since the outcome of the latest ballot we have asked for urgent pay talks and the group principal has already refused to come to the table. Such actions only serve to escalate the dispute, impact both the staff and learner experience and degrade industrial relations further.

'In order for ETC to avoid further strike action during open days, exam periods and the start of the 24/25 term we call upon management to reconsider its position and get around the table and to finally put a sensible offer forward that will end this dispute.'

Last updated: 19 April 2024