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City of Wolverhampton College staff to strike again over pay

By Annabal Bagdi | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

City of Wolverhampton College staff will take to the picket lines for the second time in a dispute over pay.

City of Wolverhampton College

Workers at the college will strike on Monday and Tuesday at the Paget Road, Wellington Road and Bilston Street campuses.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will also carry out further strike action on Wednesday at the Bilston Street campus.

The union is asking for a five per cent pay increase or £1,500 – whichever is greater – so colleges can attract and keep their “committed and experienced staff”.

It claims the college allegedly refused an offer from union officials to meet through arbitration experts Acas to settle the dispute.

Regional official for the UCU Anne O’Sullivan said: "Strike action is always a last resort, but if colleges won’t work with us to prioritise staff then we are left with no other choice.

"We are particularly frustrated that City of Wolverhampton College turned down our offer to meet through expert mediators to try and avoid strike action."

Previously the college said the majority of lecturers are "paid at the top of their pay band", in line with the average school teacher salary.

Karen O’Reilly, assistant principal, said: "City of Wolverhampton College has received notification from the UCU regarding strike action for 3 days next week. The dispute was originally a national issue about the lack of funding in the sector which has impacted on pay. UCU want more parity with school teachers pay – the average that is being quoted is £37,000 per annum.

"The strike continues because the union is seeking a substantial increase in pay for all staff at the College which we simply cannot afford. We have made an offer which they believe is unacceptable. Most of our lecturers are paid at the top of the pay band earning almost £37,000 per annum already. There is little money in the further education sector to fund pay increases, unlike in schools where the government has funded recent pay rises. UCU have also asked for consideration to be given to other elements including an additional 5 days’ holidays – our lecturers currently receive 51 days paid holiday. Our discussions with UCU continue.

"Whilst the college is supportive of the union trying to obtain better funding for staff in the further education sector, we have to balance affordability of increasing our pay within the same funding framework and remaining as a going concern."

Annabal Bagdi

By Annabal Bagdi
@AnnabalB_Star

Senior reporter based at head office in Wolverhampton. Get in touch on 01902 319 229 or at annabal.bagdi@expressandstar.co.uk

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