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Boost for Leicester College strikers as local MP offers full support

29 January 2019

Striking UCU members at Leicester College have been given a boost on the first day of their strikes over pay as local MP Jon Ashworth gave them his full support in their fight for fairer pay.

The Leicester South MP said he fully supported the UCU members and that investing in staff was vital to improving further education and deliver a better quality of education for students.

UCU members are on strike on Tuesday 29 and Thursday 31 January. The college's Freemen's Park, St Margaret's and Abbey Park campuses will all be affected and staff will be back on picket lines from 8am on Thursday at:

Freemen's Park Campus - entrances on Welford Road and Aylestone Road

St Margaret's Campus - entrances on Grafton Place and St John Street

Abbey Park Campus entrances on Memory Lane, Painter Street and Belgrave Gate

The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen their pay decline by 25% over the last decade.  The pay gap between schoolteachers and teachers in colleges is now £7,000. In the recent ballot, 95% of UCU members at Leicester College who voted backed strike action.

The union said if colleges wanted to avoid further disruption, they needed to follow the lead of the likes of Hugh Baird College, who agreed a last minute deal with UCU yesterday, and Capital City College Group, which recently agreed a 5% pay deal for its 1,700 staff.

Jon Ashworth MP for Leicester South said: 'I fully support and express my solidarity with UCU staff at our colleges, fighting for fair pay. Investing in our staff is vital to improving the further education and means a better quality of education for students.

'The government needs to end austerity and ensure proper funding for all further education colleges to deliver fair pay and at the same time colleges must work with and value staff.'

UCU regional official Sue Davis said: 'The support from Jon Ashworth is a real boost for UCU members on strike this week. We are pleased he is calling for more cash to deal with the pay crisis in our colleges.

'Staff at Leicester College have had enough of increasing workloads while their pay is eroded. The college has to now prioritise its staff and come back to us with a meaningful offer.'

UCU members at 13 English colleges* are walking out as part of a second wave of strikes after staff at six colleges took action in November. Around two-thirds of college heads have said pay is a major obstacle in attracting staff.

Abingdon and Witney College
Bath College
Bradford College
Bridgwater and Taunton College
City of Wolverhampton College
Croydon College
East Sussex College
Harlow College
Kendal College ^
Lambeth College
Leicester College ^
Petroc
West Thames College

^ Staff are out for two days on 29 and 30 January at 11 of the colleges. In order to maximise the impact of their action, Leicester College UCU members will be taking action on Tuesday 29 and Thursday 31 January and members at Kendal College will be taking action on 30 January and 12 February.

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