Manchester Solidarity Federation

Manchester College staff on strike

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Tomorrow will see UCU members at Manchester College go on strike over contracts.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at The Manchester College – which has campuses in Crumpsall, Moston, Harpurhey and Collyhurst – will stage a walkout.

Lecturers are fighting proposed new contracts which they claim will create a two-tier system between those who teach teenagers and adult tutors.

The college recently de-recognised the union following years of poor relations.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Our members don’t want to take strike action but have been left with little choice. Staff at Manchester perform a range of duties and teach a variety of people, they do not operate in separate silos. The disarray that will be created by this unworkable two-tier system will leave the college with potential discrimination and dismissal claims and consequently unable to defend itself in the face of likely government funding cuts. Nobody wants this. This situation can still be resolved.”

The decision by Tavernor – who has recently awarded himself and nine other members of the College’s management significant salary increases – to cut off ties with the union which represents the majority of Manchester College employees was supposedly taken in response to an advert taken out by UCU in the Manchester Evening News.

The principal is said to be thoroughly rattled by resistance among staff, and it is rumoured that even the college’s management are now questioning his heavy-handed approach.

Workers say proposed changes to conditions would mean staff working with 14-to-19-year-olds would spend less time in the classroom and receive more holidays than those who worked with older learners. The UCU balloted 500 staff at the campus and of those who voted, more than two-thirds backed strike action.

Employees have told the MULE newspaper in Manchester that Manchester College regards non-signing of the new contracts as tacit acceptance of the terms, and have complained of “bullying and intimidation by managers” during negotiations.

The news of industrial action comes as prison educators employed by the college are also being balloted for strike action.

Staff will be on picket lines from 7.30am at the college’s Openshaw campus off Ashton Road. The protests will then move to the institution’s Shena Simon campus at 11.00am. At 12 noon there will be a rally at the Mechanics Institute on Major Street where there will be speeches by staff and students, including UCU president Alan Whitaker.

Education Workers can find out more on how to fight back at work from the Education Workers Network

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Written by manchestersolfed

June 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

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