By Sean Vernell
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Action wins victories at group of London colleges

Issue 2783
Four people stand on a picket line holding UCU union placards reading 'support the strike'

Strikers at City and Islington College (Picture: Guy Smallman)

After ten days of solid strikes—and plans to take six more—workers at Capital City College Group forced management to back down from attacks on conditions.

Management had imposed an inspection model that allowed lecturers to be observed, “any time, any classroom, any manager’’.

The policy also linked observation performance to the “capability policy,” allowing staff to be fast‑tracked out of the college.

But now strikes have forced bosses to agree a new policy. This will see staff having three 15 or 20 minute classroom visits a year with notification, which are ungraded and have no link to the capability policy. 

The strikes also succeeded in levelling pay and holidays across the group of colleges—City and Islington, Westminster Kingsway and The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (Conel).

Lecturers at Conel will be put on London weighting—worth £1,700—in line with other colleges in the group.

They will also be moved onto the CCCG contract, which is worth an extra £1,500 plus 3 days extra holiday entitlement.

The workers’ UCU union was not successful in winning a consolidated pay rise. But it did win a £700 one-off payment to be put in the December pay packet for all staff.

UCU accepted this on the basis that fresh negotiations on a consolidated pay rise would begin after the Easter holiday for the 2022-23 pay award.

Members also struck over workload. Bosses were made to agree to a number of new important management protocols that they must implement.

These include the a new automated system that automatically contacts students that are absent from lessons.

It means staff will no longer need to contact those students and parents after every missed lesson.

A new working group with UCU was also agreed to look at further ways to reduce workload.

Over forty new staff joined UCU across the group since the beginning of the dispute and only two have left due to dissatisfaction.

UCU now has a 91 percent density among teaching staff.

That puts staff in a very strong position to continue to defend and secure better working and learning conditions.

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