Burnley College and Nelson and Colne College staff could strike on GCSE exam day

The University and College Union (UCU) today (Wednesday) told the bosses of Burnley College and Nelson and Colne College to urgently raise staff pay if they want to avoid strike action set to take place on May 18th, the day many GCSE students are due to take a crucial English exam.

By Dominic Collis
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 12:13 pm

UCU expects around 900 staff at the colleges to down tools, and over 50,000 students could be impacted. Staff have timed their strike to take place the same day that many students are due to sit GCSE English language. If the strike goes ahead exams will have to be cancelled.

From Thursday May 19th staff will also be taking action short of strike, which includes working to contract, not covering for absent colleagues or vacant posts, and not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action.

UCU is demanding the colleges increase pay by at least 8.5% to meet the cost of living crisis. 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. Westminster recently announced the biggest increase in further education funding in more than a decade.

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UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: ‘We urge employers to do the right thing and give staff a pay rise so strike action can be avoided. Our members take huge pride in educating and supporting students, and striking during exams is a last resort, but staff are rightly outraged that their bosses have repeatedly held down pay.

"Now as inflation and energy costs soar, bosses need to raise pay so we can avoid disruption to crucial GCSE English exams.’