Further education lecturers in the UCU union are being balloted from Monday of this week over their latest pay offer.
Following strike action earlier this year, the employer increased the pay offer to 3.2 percent – effectively 2.7 percent in cash terms over the year. This is still way below inflation and also below the union’s claim of 6 percent.
At a special sector pay conference last month members voted narrowly to recomend acceptance of the offer in the ballot. This is a setback to the campaign against Gordon Brown’s public sector pay limit.
Activists in the UCU Left are campaigning for a no vote. At a time when the cost of living is soaring, lecturers cannot afford to settle for a below-inflation pay deal. Further action can win a better offer.
In every college, activists need to organise union meetings to discuss the offer and make sure every union member is contacted about the ballot. The ballot ends on Monday 13 October.
Lecturers and support staff in the UCU and Unison unions at Sheffield College took part in a one-day strike on Tuesday of this week.
Around 20 workers joined a picket line at the college. Workers in the NUJ journalists’ union brought their banner to the picket line to show solidarity with the strikers.
The workers struck after college management refused to implement a nationally-agreed pay award dating back to 2007. The pay award would have given all workers an overall increase of 2.5 percent.
Unison regional organiser Kevin Osborne said, “It is almost unbelievable the employers in Sheffield have simply chosen to ignore the national agreement and deny our members the money that is rightfully theirs.
“The withholding of the agreed pay rise is taking place at the same time inflation has reached a 16-year high.”
Strikes are planned every Tuesday until the dispute is resolved.
Lecturers in the UCU union at Barnsley College have voted by 86 percent to strike to demand the reinstatement of sacked UCU official Bob Willerton.
Bob, the college’s head of engineering, was sacked three weeks ago. The college UCU branch sees this as a deliberate attack on the union.
The branch’s action committee met on the day of the ballot result and voted to start the action with a one day strike on Tuesday of next week, two days before Bob’s appeal hearing. The branch is meeting this week to decide a campaign of further industrial action should the appeal fail.
A hardship fund is being set up. The national union has supplied “Bring Back Bob” T-shirts and stickers.
All members were asked to wear the T-shirt on Wednesday of this week to coincide with the first working day of the new principal, who will hear the appeal.
Dave Gibson, secretary Barnsley College UCU
Nottingham Trent University
UCU union members at Nottingham Trent University have voted by 70 percent to strike over management’s derecognition of the union branch. A one-day strike is planned for 21 October.