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Second strike at Harlow College as lecturers fear threat to quality

11 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Lecturers at Harlow College today begin a three day strike in resistance to the imposition of a new, unnegotiated college plan which lecturers - and students - say threatens the quality of the learning experience at the college.

This is the second strike following two successful days of action in May (24 and 25), which brought the college to a standstill and witnessed students'  rooftop protests in support of lecturers.

Some lecturers face the prospect of a £10,000-£13,000 cut in salary, a longer working week, an increased workload and shorter holidays. Some have already quit. Others are considering doing so, with great regret.

Many qualified teaching staff may be put on inappropriate lower grades, a move which could open the door to the future use of unqualified teaching staff.

Students are also concerned. Harlow College Students' Union discussed student concerns last week and student representatives are writing to the college principal, college governors and to local MP, Bill Rammell.

The college has hired a PR firm to try to protect its reputation and this week spent around £2,000 on one local newspaper advertisement, challenging the case for the strike.  UCU says these crucial resources could be saved and the reputation of the college could be redeemed if the college would only negotiate with staff.

College principal Colin Hindmarch is till declining to meet UCU national officials, despite an appeal by Harlow MP Bill Rammell.

Barry Lovejoy, head of further education at UCU, said: 'The real shame is that the principal, Mr Hindmarch has missed an opportunity to prevent this disruption, he has so far refused to negotiate despite appeals from UCU and by the local MP.  He should hold negotiations and consult with the people who do the job: the teaching staff,  not waste thousands of pounds on newspaper advertisements and image consultants - money which should be spent on improving educational services for the people of Harlow.'