Strike action at Kirklees College

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Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Kirklees College will be on strike next week (Thursday June 20).

In a ballot of members 79% per cent who those who voted, voted for strike action and 92 per cent backed action short of a strike, which could include a refusal to do unpaid overtime.

Almost 60 staff face pay cuts of between £2,000 and £12,000 a year or detrimental changes to their terms and conditions and six staff are still at risk of losing their jobs.

The union is calling on the college to remove the threat of compulsory redundancies and stop the downgrading of staff onto inferior contracts.

It said the college had come under fire for the delayed completion of two new buildings in Huddersfield due to open in September and now says the first £2 million of earnings in future years will have to be spent on capital and interest repayments on mortgages and loans.

UCU said that prioritising buildings over staff, students and the quality of education was poor reward for staff who, just months ago, helped the college attain an outstanding OFSTED Grade 1 report.

Regional officer Julie Kelley, said: “UCU members have made it quite clear that they are prepared to take industrial action to defend their pay and the education of their students. Strike action is always a last resort, but there is a genuine anger about the way the college has mismanaged recent events.

“If the college is allowed to push these changes through local students will suffer - especially those who require additional support with their literacy and numeracy skills and their main studies. It’s the department which provides the specialist support to those students that would bear the brunt of these cuts.”