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Disruption to hit 16 colleges as staff overwhelmingly back strikes over pay

12 February 2018 | last updated: 26 February 2018

Disruption is set to hit 16 colleges (*see table below) after staff voted overwhelmingly for strike action in an ongoing row over pay.

Overall, 91% of staff at affected colleges voted for strike action. The average turnout was 63%. Action is due to begin in the coming weeks, with the majority of colleges planning a two-day walkout. Full details of action at each of the colleges will be confirmed in the coming days.

The dispute has arisen following a disappointing pay offer of 1% from the employer representative, the Association of Colleges, in September. UCU said the below-inflation offer failed to address the years of pay suppression which further education staff have endured.

Staff at all affected institutions are taking action over pay, but at some colleges the dispute also includes concerns about working conditions including holiday entitlement, workload and observation policies.

UCU said the level of support for strikes showed the depth of anger amongst staff who have seen their pay fail to keep up with the rising cost of living. The union said it was ready to negotiate with college leaders to avoid unnecessary disruption but that urgent action was needed to address the concerns of staff.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'The overwhelming support for strike action at these colleges shows the depth of anger about continued attempts to hold down pay in further education. Strikes are always a last resort for staff, but years of derisory pay offers have failed to keep up with the rising cost of living and patience is wearing thin.

'We are ready to negotiate in order to resolve these disputes and minimise the disruption to students. It is now up to college leaders to come back to the table and address the concerns of staff as a matter of urgency.'



% voting for strike action

% turnout

Capital City College Group*



United College Group^



New City College~



Croydon College



Epping Forest College



Havering College



Lambeth College



Richmond-upon-Thames College



Sandwell College



Sunderland College



Sussex Coast College Hastings



* Capital City College Group comprises of the following colleges
City and Islington College
College of Haringey Enfield and North East London
Westminster Kingsway College

^ United College Group comprises of the following colleges
City of Westminster College
College of North West London  

~ New City College comprises of the following colleges
Hackney Community College
Redbridge College
Tower Hamlets College

NB. The ballot at South Thames College Group failed to reach the minimum turnout required for action to proceed.