FE College workers in Bristol joined national University and College Union (UCU) strike action this week. Bristol Trades Council joined the striking workers at the picket line, and the rally at College Green that day.
The strikes will take place over four weeks in the first half term of the academic year. The full dates of strike action are:
- Week 1: Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 September (3 days)
- Week 2: Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October (2 days)
- Week 3: Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 October (2 days)
- Week 4: Tuesday 18 Wednesday, 19 and Thursday 20 October (3 days)
UCU is demanding employers make a pay offer that reflects the soaring costs college staff currently face. Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35% and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9k. Unqualified college teachers earn as little as £21k whilst qualified teachers earn as little as £26k.
In June, employer representative the Association of Colleges made a pay recommendation of just 2.5%. RPI inflation is now at 12.3%. Employers have had two months since UCU’s ballot result to make meaningful pay offers that reflect rising inflation levels, but have not done so.