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Strike action on at Grimsby Institute

28 June 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Members of UCU at Grimsby Institute will be striking on Tuesday (2 July) in an ongoing row over job losses and cuts to staff pay and conditions.

In the recent ballot, 96% of members who voted backed strike action. Staff are furious that the college is using national funding cuts as an excuse to axe one in five teaching staff, despite spending less on staff than the national average. As well as the job losses the union says the college is seeking to rip up workload agreements, slash staff pay and ride roughshod over employment rights.

Grimsby College strike, 2 July 2103 There will be pickets outside the main Grimsby campus at Nuns Corner from 7.45 am. The president-elect of the national UCU union, John McCormack will be on the picket line and speaking to the striking workers.

The union is particularly cross that the college is sacking staff over the summer holidays and fears for students' education, particularly in the department that teaches students with special educational needs.

UCU said many of those students spend time building up a trusting relationship with staff and will be devastated on their return in September to discover some of their lecturers have been sacked. The union said the college has rewritten some people's job specifications to a level to ensure they cannot meet the requirements.

Grimsby Institute's problems do not end in Grimsby. Members of UCU at the Yorkshire Coast site of Grimsby Institute in Scarborough will be holding a lunchtime protest on Tuesday to show their solidarity with their colleagues and to protest at planned job cuts there as well.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'Strike action is always a last resort, but UCU members at Grimsby Institute have had enough of the way the college has treated them. Sacking staff or seeking to force them out so they can hire new staff on cheaper pay is no way to improve the standard of education in Grimsby.'

UCU president-elect, John McCormack, said: 'UCU members at Grimsby Institute have the full support of the national union in their action. Axing staff and slashing pay is no way to reward hard-working staff.'

According to the latest accounts (up to 31 July 2012), Grimsby Institute spent 52.1% of its income on staff costs in 2011-12, against a sector average for comparable further education colleges of 61.5%. In that financial year it made a surplus of £3.7m and (as of 31 July 2012) held reserves of £19.6m.

The college argues that its reserves have been allocated to various building and capital projects across its campuses. However it is the union's view that stylish buildings are no replacement for staff who have confidence that their job is secure and are valued by the institution. 

During 2012, the college made a significant number of staff redundant at both Grimsby and its Scarborough campuses, which included shutting A-level courses at Grimsby. UCU is worried that the quality of education at the college will be affected by job losses, inevitable bigger classes, and increased workloads for the staff that remain.