Strikes loom at Abingdon & Witney College

Students at Abingdon and Witney College might be affected by strikes in the new year. 71% of members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Abingdon and Witney College voted in favour of strikes in row over pay.

The UCU reports a £7,000 pay gap between teachers at colleges and schools. It calls for colleges to follow the example of a 5% pay deal at the Capital City College Group. In May of 2018 the Universities and Colleges Employers Associated had made a final offer to raise base pay by 2%.

In the latest UCU poll overall 89% of respondents voted in favour of strikes. Abingdon and Witney College (70.7%) was the second lowest behind Wiltshire College (70.3%). At each of the 23 polled institutions UCU members voted in favour of industrial action consisting of strikes. However, laws require a turnout of 50% for the ballot to stand. The threshold was only met in 10 institutions.

These laws were criticised by Mike Waddup, head of policy at the UCU: “More colleges would be facing strikes if it was not for the anti-trade union laws introduced by this government. These laws curtail people’s democratic right to strike in a manner that is not used in any other part of society.”

Earlier in October 73% of UCU members at Oxford University voted in favour of strikes over pay. But with a turnout of 45% the threshold was missed.