Strike on at Manchester College

23 June 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU calls for urgent talks to avoid widespread disruption

Members of UCU at Manchester College today announced that they will be taking strike action next Wednesday (30 June) in a row over terms and conditions. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the union says there will be further targeted industrial aimed at fundamentally disrupting induction days in September.

The row centres on the college's attempts to impose different contracts for staff teaching adults and those teaching 14-19-year-olds. The union says that, as well as being fundamentally unfair, the plans are unworkable as many staff teach both adults and 14-19-year-olds and could be placed on either contract, which could lead to a spate of potential discrimination claims.

The union believes the changes will impact massively on Manchester College's students as well as its staff. The inferior contracts for staff working with adults demand extra hours but with less annual leave and will see a huge rise in preparation time and extra marking for those staff.

The news of industrial action comes less than a fortnight after Manchester College formally derecognised UCU and as prison educators employed by the college are also being balloted for strike action.

UCU today repeated its calls for urgent talks with management and for the involvement of the arbitration service ACAS. However, the union warned that without a negotiated settlement staff will be left with no option but to take strike action.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Our members don't want to take strike action, but they have been left with little choice. Staff at Manchester College perform a range of duties and teach a variety of people, they do not operate in separate silos. The disarray that will be created by this unworkable two-tier system will leave the college with potential discrimination and dismissal claims and unable to defend itself in the face of likely government funding cuts. Nobody wants this.

'UCU remains committed to finding a negotiated settlement and would welcome the involvement of the arbitration service ACAS. Union derecognition is in no one's interest and certainly not the way to resolve this dispute. We will do all we can to seek a solution so that our members at the college can continue to provide first-class teaching for all students at Manchester College. We remain confident that this situation can be resolved and are prepared to clear our diaries at any time for talks.'