Barnsley College staff prepare for two-day strike

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Members of staff at Barnsley College are to go on strike in a row over new contracts.

The University and College Union has called the strike on Wednesday and Thursday. It coincides with an open evening at the college on Wednesday night.

UCU says changes to contracts, as part of a restructure in the summer, have led to pay cuts, a worsening of terms and conditions, new roles for teaching staff and performance-related pay for some.

It argues that new and restructured staff could see their pay slashed by £6,000 a year, while others face losing 10 days’ annual leave.

Staff walked out for one day last month.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: “Staff are not prepared to sit by while the college tries to ruin their terms and conditions.

“Nobody wants to take strike action, but the college’s refusal to negotiate with us in good faith has left us with no alternative.

“This is an unashamed effort by the college to try and squeeze more out of staff for less.

“New staff will be forced onto inferior terms and those already employed face seeing their jobs downgraded and their pay and holiday entitlement slashed.”

Colin Booth, Barnsley College Principal, said: “I am disappointed that, after six months of negotiations, UCU have chosen to strike over a contract that will bring positive changes to the pay structure and conditions of service for many of our staff. No current member of staff will be forced to sign.

“I am pleased to say that over 100 staff have asked to sign the new contract and we will continue to enable others to do so.

“I expect around 100 staff to be on strike from a total of 800 employed by the college.”