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Staff at Nottingham College to take personal testimonies of damaging new contracts to governors

19 July 2019 | last updated: 23 July 2019

Staff at Nottingham College will take personal accounts of the damage new contracts are causing to them and their students directly to the governors, as they fight back against plans to cut their pay and conditions.

Ahead of a 4pm board meeting at the college's site in Ruddington on Monday (22 July), members of UCU will hand letters to the governors detailing the failings of the new contracts and how the college has tried to intimidate staff into signing them.

Staff say that the college 'lacks a moral compass', has 'lost its sense of purpose and responsibility to students and the local community' and that college managers "should hang their heads in shame for forcing loyal staff to sign new contracts through intimidation".

Staff are furious at the college's threat to dismiss staff who refuse to sign up to new contracts that would leave over 80 more than £1,000 a year worse off. The contracts also cut eight days' holiday, slash sick pay and protections against work overload. Staff at the college have not received a pay rise since 2010.

UCU members took strike action against the plans on 1 July and have announced an extraordinary 15 days of walkouts from September* if the dispute cannot be resolved. In the recent ballot, 96% of UCU members who voted backed the walkouts.

In the letters, written anonymously as staff fear reprisals, staff say they felt physically sick after signing the contracts. One says that it is beyond belief that the college is so lacking in a moral compass that it would force its staff to sign the contracts. 

One staff member writes that the whole consultation process has been a farce and merely a prolonged attempt to force staff into signing the contract. Another says that college managers should hang their heads in shame for forcing loyal staff to sign the new contracts through intimidation, harassment and duress.

Another says the college has lost its sense of purpose and responsibility to students and the local community. They point out that most staff already put in considerable extra hours to prepare classes and get marking done and ask if the board actually cares about staff morale or people's health. Copies of the letters are available from the press office.

UCU head of further education, Andrew Harden, said: 'Staff will take their personal stories of how badly they have been treated by the college to the governors on Monday. The board of governors are the stewards of the college and the failure to deal fairly with staff rests at their feet. Having a college threatening to sack staff if they do not sign up to worse pay and conditions is simply unacceptable.

'We hope the governors will see that and ensure that the college comes back and works with us to resolve the dispute. If they do not then staff have made it perfectly clear that they will take an extraordinary 15 days of action next term. That is not a decision they have taken lightly, but the college currently has left them with no choice.'

* The strikes will start with a one day walkout on Wednesday 11 September, escalating to strikes of two, three, four and five days in subsequent weeks. The full strike dates are:
Week 1: 11 September
Week 2: 19 and 20 September
Week 3: 23, 24 and 25 September
Week 4: 30 September, 1, 3, and 4 October
Week 5: 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 October

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