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Ten more colleges could join walkouts over pay

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Issue 2635
UCU members on strike in London in November
UCU members on strike in London in November (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Workers across 26 colleges in England last month voted by 89 percent for strikes over pay. The overall turnout was 48 percent.

It was the second time that the UCU union members had voted in favour of action.

But in the first ballot that ended last October, the branches didn’t reach the 50 percent turnout threshold required for legal strikes.

This time ten of the 26 met the threshold. The union has said the ten could join six colleges that struck over pay in November in a new wave of strikes.

That’s good—but unions should also defy the Tory laws that block strikes.

The ten colleges that met the 50 percent threshold are Abingdon and Witney, Bridgwater and Taunton, City of Wolverhampton, Coventry, East Sussex, Harlow, Hugh Baird, Kendal, Leicester and West Thames. The six colleges that struck in November are Bath, Bradford, Croydon, Lambeth, New College Swindon and Petroc in Devon

Action is off in Wales

The UCU union suspended planned strikes at four colleges in Wales after bosses made a revised offer.

It gives all teaching grades up to and including grade 6 a

3.5 percent pay rise. Workers on higher pay rates receive a 2 percent rise, while management gets 1.5 percent.

Jobs fight in Edinburgh

UCU union members at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh are balloting for strikes to save jobs.

Planned cuts put over 40 jobs at risk—around a tenth of its staff. The UCU said that alternatives, including management savings, have not been “sufficiently explored”.

The university plays a key role in training NHS staff across Scotland.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said, “By threatening these cuts and refusing to rule out compulsory redundancies the university has left us with no choice other than to ballot.”

The ballot ends on Wednesday 16 January.

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