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Picket lines ready as lecturers go on strike at Harlow College

23 May 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Lecturers at Harlow College, members of UCU, will be on picket lines outside the college's main entrances tomorrow, Thursday 24 May, at the start of two day strike action.

The strike will demonstrate opposition to the imposition on teaching staff of a new, unnegotiated contract which would significantly reduce pay and conditions for many of them, and moving 35% of teaching staff on to unqualified terms of conditions of service and pay.

  • Some staff would have maximum wages cut by up to £13,000.
  • Some staff would be forced to work up to 56 hours a week including Saturdays.

UCU will seek to hand in a petition, supporting the lecturers, to the college's corporation board which is meeting on Thursday morning to discuss matters including the new contract and restructuring of the college. The petition has been signed by over 2000 Harlow College students, local residents and others concerned about the attack on further education.

UCU regional official Liz Martins said: 'This is a sad day in the history of Harlow College's reputation. Lecturers want to teach and to be respected and rewarded fairly for their professional work, they have no wish to be on strike. However, the attempt by the college to worsen the pay and working hours of many dedicated lecturers is intolerable and staff are rightly opposing it, with a great deal of support from the local community. Our intention today is to convey our feelings to the corporation board and to seek their intervention to bring about negotiations which can solve this. We hope they will receive our petition and act upon it.'

Minister for lifelong learning, Harlow MP Bill Rammell, recently said: 'The focus of Harlow College on improving performance is the right one,' he says. 'But to bring about positive change, you have to involve and engage the staff in all aspects of that change and, as a constituency MP, I am asking the college to do that.'