Bradford College UCU are due to strike for 3 days: 20th, 21st, 22nd March 2019. Members in Bradford have experienced a 25% reduction in pay in real terms, with no significant pay rise at all in 10 years. In comparison, school staff have received a 3% pay rise applied to pay scales that already tend to exceed the rates paid to staff in colleges.
The strikes this month follow an unprecedented 4 days of solidly supported industrial action at the college in November and January. It is hugely disappointing that a recent letter from (then) Acting CEO Chris Malish (now the finance director) to the Bradford College branch only offers talks with UCU on pay after the proposed strike days, on 1 April. Given members have already walked out twice, Bradford College UCU are quite justified in asking whether their management are playing April Fools…
Bradford College staff are suffering under hugely increased workloads and high levels of accompanying stress. Spending on the Bradford College senior management team has risen while the wage bill for lecturers has fallen. Consider this context of a refusal to move into meaningful talks for over six months, playing for time under the restrictive (anti-)Trade Union Act 2016 laws until the ballot mandate runs out, versus the positive moves made by the City of London Group where staff were awarded a 5% payrise and many casualised staff moved onto more secure contracts.
So what can we do to support Bradford College strikers? Here are 6 things:
- Visit the picket lines (email UCU@leeds.ac.uk if you want to join a delegation and/or pop by on your way to work)
- Contribute to our collection at the Leeds UCU General Meeting tomorrow (12 noon Roger Stevens LT 11)
- Write to the latest Bradford College CEO Chris Webb: firstname.lastname@example.org to express disappointment at the failure of the executive to engage in meaningful pay bargaining (and their refusal to meet until after the next 3 days of action).
- Write to the Chair of Governors, Cath Orange: email@example.com
- Send individual messages of solidarity to the branch.
- Donate to their strike fund (to support members in financial hardship due to strike pay deductions) at https://www.gofundme.com/fe-bradford-fight-back
Messages of solidarity and further information can be obtained by emailing Geraint Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Dunkerley (email@example.com)