By Sophie Squire
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College strikes—march in Manchester for better pay

There were six college strikes across the north west last week—and another to come in Richmond Upon Thames
Issue 2809
Four pickets holding UCU placards during the Manchester college strike

On the picket line in Harpurhey during college strikes across the north west (Picture: UCU Manchester College)

Members of the UCU union held a rally in support of college strikes at seven colleges across the north west of England last Friday. Over 100 strikers and supporters rallied and marched through the streets of Manchester. Workers at the Manchester College, Burnley, City of Liverpool, Hopwood Hall, Nelson and Colne, and Oldham colleges walked out on Tuesday and Friday last week.

They are demanding a pay rise of at least 8.5 percent. Workers in further education (FE) have seen their pay fall by as much as 35 percent in real terms over the last decade.

These strikes come as 40 UCU FE branches are set to be balloted over pay and workloads later this year. It also comes after 15 strikes to demand better pay last Autumn.

Workers at Richmond upon Thames College have announced they will strike for two days against bosses’ plans to fire and rehire the entire workforce. New contracts will leave workers with worse terms and conditions.

The 70 union members, who have already been on strike for five days, are set to strike on Tuesday of next week and on Tuesday 28 June. Strikes at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale and Middleton in Greater Manchester were called off when workers accepted a 7.5 percent pay rise.

While this is a big step forward it is still below inflation, so effectively a pay cut. If workers in colleges strike together, they can win better conditions and an above inflation pay rise.

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