All out for USS

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Strike date confirmed in Hull College redundancy dispute

5 October 2016

Staff at Hull College will walk out next Thursday (13 October) in an increasingly bitter row over redundancies at the college.

The one day strike has been announced in response to proposals which could see up to 142 staff lose their jobs.

Following the strike, members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the college will also begin working to contract, which means they will refuse to work beyond their normal hours or during their breaks, and won't undertake any voluntary duties.

More than eight in ten UCU members (86%) who voted backed strike action, while 96% voted in favour of action short of a strike.

The redundancy plans affect 60 lecturers as well as staff working in essential services like the library and learning support. Several UCU branch officers are at risk of redundancy. Despite nursery staff putting forward alternative proposals, the college intends to close all three of its nurseries.

The college has stated that it hopes to create around 70 new posts through a subsidiary company, HCUK Resourcing, to mitigate the impact of redundancies.  However, only 15 of these posts are currently open to staff at risk of redundancy, as most of the new roles rely on European funding which has not yet been secured. The union is also concerned that the new posts will have worse pay and conditions, and that staff would be moved from established contracts of employment onto precarious casual contracts in a private limited company.

The union has warned that the plans would mean fewer education opportunities for local people, and that cutting support facilities would impact existing and future students. UCU has written to the college governors seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the proposals.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'Strike action is always a last resort, but after several years of redundancies, staff have said enough is enough. These plans are damaging for the college, staff and its students, as well as members of the local community who stand to lose out on vital learning opportunities.

'Only a fraction of the 70 new posts through HCUK Resourcing have actually materialised, and we are concerned that the new contracts on offer have worse pay and conditions and will leave staff in a more precarious employment situation.

'We hope to meet with college governors in the coming days. It remains possible that the college could avoid being hit by industrial action if it is willing to engage positively with UCU to find an alternative to the current plans. The ball is now in the employer's court.'

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