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Strike action on the cards at United Colleges Group in row over working conditions and contract changes

9 April 2021 | last updated: 12 April 2021

UCU members working at London based United Colleges Group have today voted overwhelmingly for strike action over changes to agreed contracts imposed by management that will see workloads increase.

99% of UCU members who voted said they were prepared to take strike action. 100% of members who voted said they were prepared to take action short of strike.

At the start of the 2020 autumn term, college management unilaterally imposed changes to existing terms and conditions by removing timetabled non-teaching hours for teaching staff. These terms and conditions are part of the contract the college agreed with UCU following the merger of the College of North West London and City of Westminster College in 2017.

UCU accused management of attempting to re-write history by tearing up collective agreements, and expressed concern that this top-down managerialism may only be the tip of the iceberg. The union called on the employer to use resolve the dispute and avoid strike action.

The changes have already seen an extra hour per week of teaching added to timetables and a significant increase in workload for staff, as well as meaning lost hours and pay for hourly paid staff, due to the addition of teaching hours to the timetable for full-time and fractional lecturers.

Negotiations with UCG Group management to explore a resolution to the dispute are expected to resume after the Easter holidays.

UCU regional official Adam Lincoln said: 'Our members have voted to strike over detrimental changes to contracts by United Colleges Group and we urge management to use planned negotiations to resolve this dispute and avoid industrial action. With the employer imposing detrimental changes to contracts and increasing the workload of already over stretched staff we have been left with little choice but to call for industrial action. Our members won't stand for it. We will fight to secure decent terms and conditions.'

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