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Hundreds of staff go on strike as Kirklees College is hit in dispute over pay

The 24-hour strike meant the college closed all its sites in Huddersfield and Dewsbury

Hundreds of staff staged a 24-hour strike as Kirklees College was hit by industrial action.

Pickets were outside the college’s Waterfront campus in Huddersfield as part of the national day of action.

Kirklees College shut all its seven sites in Huddersfield and Dewsbury because of the 24-hour strike, which came after staff voted to walk out in a bitter dispute over a pay claim.

Lecturers, cleaners and support staff all took part in the strike, which followed a recommended pay freeze by the Association of Colleges.

Workers at the Kirklees College Waterfront campus stress it is a national dispute and not one where there is an issue with the local management.

But they are adamant that a pay freeze is unacceptable and have threatened further action.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) and UNISON in further education colleges across England were on strike, with staff angry that the employers’ representatives, the Association of Colleges, recommended the pay freeze, despite staff saying they have suffered a real-terms pay cut of 17.1% in the last five years.

Paul Holmes, branch secretary with Kirklees UNISON, said: “The action was very solid. Only one out of 240 UNISON members at the site went in to work. Many non members also stayed out, particularly the cleaners.

Unison member Paul Holmes
Unison member Paul Holmes

“We had about 23 pickets at Huddersfield and several more at Dewsbury.

“It’s now up to the employers and if no pay offer is made then I can see further industrial action coming up.”

Before the strike, Peter McCann, principal at Kirklees College, said the college would ensure the closure did not have a negative impact on students’ learning.

“Both UNISON and UCU have voted nationally in favour of strike action on Wednesday in response to the 15/16 pay negotiations and the national offer of a 0% pay award in FE.

“The college will be closing all sites to students and the public on this day, including evening classes. We will ensure the closure does not impact negatively on students’ learning.”

Unison members picketing at Kirklees College, Huddersfield.



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