Fighting fund banner


Newcastle College to be hit by rolling programme of strike action

20 May 2011

Members of UCU at Newcastle College will begin a rolling programme of strike action next month, in a row over jobs and pay.

At an emergency meeting yesterday evening, UCU members voted to escalate their dispute with the college, which plans to make over 180 redundancies and to cut over 180 lecturers' pay. Dates for the action will be announced at the start of June.
Today's news comes after UCU members went on strike in April and is the latest in a bitter dispute with the college, which announced on Wednesday that as well as cutting jobs some teaching staff will lose more than £10,000 from their annual salary.
In contrast, Newcastle principal,  Jackie Fisher, enjoyed a whopping 32% annual pay rise for 2009/2010, making her £259,772 pay packet the largest of any further education principal in the country.*
UCU today accused senior management of showing a 'disgraceful attitude' towards staff.  In April UCU members were told they could no longer hold meetings on campus, with branch secretary Dave O'Toole banned from representing members at meetings between the union and senior management. 
The union believes there is no financial need to make the cuts and pointed to the fact that the college reported a £6million surplus for the last financial year and is in the process of taking over Northumberland College.
UCU regional official, Iain Owens, said: 'Strike action is always a last resort but the branch feel there is no other option after the disgraceful attitude shown by management towards staff. As well as attacking our members' jobs and right to organise they are now cutting lecturers' pay.
'There is no financial imperative for making these cuts. Newcastle College is in good financial health and certainly has no problem rewarding its principal. These cuts seem to be based more on spite and we will do all that we can to defend jobs, pay and students' education.'


* In 2008/09, the Principal and Chief Executive of Newcastle College was paid £196,333 in salary and bonus and retention payments.  In 2009/10, the equivalent figure was £259,772. View Newcastle College accounts (pdf).

Last updated: 11 December 2015