A UCU balloon at a trade union march

Staff at Kirklees College will strike for four days beginning on Monday 11 September in a long running dispute over low pay. The workers, represented by the University and College Union (UCU) will walk out on 11 September, 12 September, 20 September and 21 September. The strikes will hit the first teaching week of the new academic year.

Staff at the college have already taken six days of strike action across May and June but the UCU says that management has refused to budge from a pay award for 22/23 of just 1% plus a £500 non-consolidated lump sum. The union also accuses college management of unilaterally imposing a ‘cost of living’ pay award of just 2.5% for 23/24 during pay talks for 22/23.  

The UCU says its Branch Officers made themselves available over the summer break to meet with college management to find a way to resolve this dispute, but management were not interested. A meeting took place last week, and the union had hoped that a resolution would be found to enable it to stand down the next strike days.

However, the UCU says that college principal and CEO Palvinder Singh didn’t attend the meeting, leaving it to an interim human resources consultant to reiterate the management line that 1% was all staff were going to get for 22/23.

Staff at the college represented by Unison will also be walking out on the four strike days.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: ‘Unless Kirklees College does the right thing and pays staff what they are worth, students coming into the college for the first week of teaching in the new academic year will see how badly their teachers are treated.

 ‘We met with management in good faith to try to resolve this dispute and avoid strike action, but principal Palvinder Singh has made it clear that he will not use the huge increase in the college’s funding to support staff. This was a wasted opportunity and the disruption that will be caused over these next four days of strike action is squarely the responsibility of management’s intransigent approach.

‘Inflation has skyrocketed over the past two years so successive derisory pay awards are pushing our members further into poverty. It is unacceptable and Kirklees College urgently needs to use the cash it is hoarding to protect staff from the cost-of-living crisis. If it refuses to do so, staff will be forced to strike again.’

UCU has said that staff will be on picket lines at the Huddersfield Centre in Huddersfield and the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre in Dewsbury from 8am till 12pm on all four days.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now donate to Bright Green now.

Image credit: It’s No Game – Creative Commons