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Staff vote to strike at Sunderland College in row over £10,000 pay cuts

21 May 2012

UCU today announced that members at Sunderland College have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in a row over pay. A date for the action will be discussed over the next few days.

Nine in ten (88%) members who voted backed strike action and over three-quarters (77%) backed action short of a strike, which would see members working to contract and not fulfilling the many other duties they take on in addition to their contracted work.
The dispute centres on the college's plans to cut the salaries of more than 150 lecturers by £10,000 and downgrade 70% of its teaching workforce to inferior pay grades.
The move breaches nationally-agreed paid scales and will leave Sunderland College staff paid far less than lecturers elsewhere and around £8,000 less than the average UK full-time worker.*
The union accused the college of trying to deliver teaching on the cheap and using the current funding difficulties in further education as an excuse to cut staff pay. UCU said nobody wanted to take strike action, but the overwhelming mandate for action meant the college had to think again.
UCU regional official, Iain Owens, said: 'Nobody wants to take strike action but members will not sit by while their pay and conditions are attacked in this punitive way. The college cannot afford to dismiss this result and should be looking to work with us instead of finding excuses to deliver teaching on the cheap.
'Breaching nationally agreed pay scales is not in the long-term interest of the institution. It will succeed only in destroying morale and deterring the best and the brightest from wanting to come and work at a college where they will be paid far less than the national average.'


* According to the Annual Survey of Hourly Earnings (ASHE) from the Office for National Statistics the full-time mean average annual pay (2011) for a further education teaching professional was £35,216 and for all full-time professionals £32,837. Sunderland College intends to reduce annual full-time salaries to £24,786.

Last updated: 21 June 2019