Two hundred members of the lecturers UCU union at Barnsley College struck on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.
The strike was the latest action in their long running dispute over the introduction of associate teacher posts to replace lecturers and the demotion of six lecturers to that grade.
The pay of associate teachers is capped at over £12,000 less than a lecturer’s pay. Management is pushing the new grades through in a desperate attempt to find money to pay for new buildings.
The strikes have already forced some concessions from college management.
One of the six demoted lecturers has been reinstated and there are prospects for up to three more getting their jobs back this week.
The mood on the picket lines was very good. The college was massively disrupted. The first strike day hit an open evening. UCU members got a positive response as they leafleted potential students and their parents.
Around 60 lecturers joined pickets over the two days.
UCU members from other colleges and a delegation from the local PCS union branch joined them.
Dave Gibson, the UCU branch secretary, said, “In our strike meeting catering members reported that management have just employed an 18 year old and part of his job is to teach modules in the restaurant as part of a catering course.
“It is not fair on the 18 year old – there is no way you can expect him to do the job of a qualified lecturer. It is a perfect example of why we say that the college is sacrificing the quality of education that we provide to save money.
“Many lecturers have devoted their lives to helping students at Barnsley College and are angry at how their achievements are being threatened.”
A well-attended strike meeting voted to escalate to a three-day strike starting on 27 November with a demonstration in Barnsley on Saturday 28 November.
The branch has set up a hardship fund and £800 has already been collected with donations from the Barnsley branches of the NUT, Unison and PCS as well as City and Islington College and Wakefield College branches of the UCU.
Donations to the fund can be sent to Barnsley College UCU, c/o 33 Western Street, Barnsley S70 2BT. Cheques payable to Barnsley College UCU