September 29th, 2016

Staff at Henley College strike over proposed pay freeze

Staff at Henley College strike over proposed pay freeze Staff at Henley College strike over proposed pay freeze

STAFF from Henley College took to the picket line today (Tuesday) to strike over a proposed pay freeze.

More than 70 per cent of members from the University and College Union (UCU) voted in favour of strike action after the Association of Colleges (AoC) – which represents further education colleges – recommended a freeze on pay.

Henley College joined 29 others across the Midlands– including Stratford, Warwickshire and Solihull – taking part in the action.

The college say they were unaffected by the strike, which saw staff take to the picket line at around 7.30am.

A spokeswoman told the Observer: “We are aware that some members of staff took part in the national UCU strike today.

“All of our colleges were open as normal on Tuesday and our students did not have their studies affected by this action.”

The UCU say the proposed pay freeze was an ‘insult’ to further education staff, and they hope strike action will prompt a response from the AoC.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “UCU members are sick of employers’ refusal to deal with the real-terms pay cuts that have blighted the sector. For the AoC to recommend that all of their members freeze staff pay this year was a real insult.

“Members who voted gave a clear mandate for strike action. We hope the employers will now come back to the table.”

But the AoC say the pay recommendations reflect the financial situation in the further education sector.

Director of services Marc Whitworth said: “Our position reflects the feedback we had from our members. No further dialogue has been scheduled with our union colleagues regarding this cycle of negotiations.

“Strikes are very disruptive for colleges and more importantly for students. We would encourage UCU to consider how we might better work together to represent our respective members collectively. There is a willingness from the employers’ side to work together to protect the prospects of further education, its skilled workforce and the students it serves.”

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