Sunderland College union members to consider further day of action

University & College Union (UCU) members Brian Naisby, Kevin Lynch and Laura Stamp take part in the strike action outside Sunderland College's City Campus.
University & College Union (UCU) members Brian Naisby, Kevin Lynch and Laura Stamp take part in the strike action outside Sunderland College's City Campus.

Further strike action is being considered by college staff as they call on bosses to reconsider their “insulting” 1% pay rise.

Members of the University and College Union at Sunderland College went on strike today at campuses in the city centre, Bede and Washington as they urged chiefs to reconsider an increase.

We have really tried to negotiate, but we have been rebuffed several times.

Kevin Lynch

They say restructures means there are fewer members of staff doing more work, with the 1% given to cover two years is “way below inflation”.

It says the college claims less Government funding and reduced student numbers prevent a proper pay rise, but had budgeted to award workers a pay rise last year then withdrew it.

The Association of Colleges has recommended, but cannot enforce, an increase of 1% for two consecutive years, with each deal negotiated locally.

The union says its ballot from members allowing it to take a further day of action.

Kevin Lynch, who represents the UCU Sunderland College branch and a learning support lecturer, said: “We’ve had two restructures in the last two years, which means job losses and more people doing more work, which means stress.

“So it’s a bit of a kick in teeth when you see other colleges that are on the same as you get an increase, you feel they are valued and you are not.

“We have really tried to negotiate, but we have been rebuffed several times.”

College bosses say they value the workforce, but have been “starved of investment needed to support better pay” from the Government and is facing falling student numbers, which means it cannot meet the 6.9% suggested raise.