Kirklees College will be shut by a 24-hour strike tomorrow.

Hundreds of staff are to walk out in a bitter dispute over a pay claim.

Lecturers, cleaners and support staff will all be taking part in the strike, which follows 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 in England will be taking strike action.

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Staff are angry that the employers’ representatives, the Association of Colleges, recommended a pay freeze, despite staff suffering a real-terms pay cut of 17.1% in the last five years.

UCU members walked out in November as part of the dispute and will now be joined on picket lines by UNISON members.

Three-quarters (74%) of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the union’s ballot end of last year. Last week UNISON members also backed industrial action with two-thirds (66%) of their members who voted backing the walkout.

Peter McCann, principal at Kirklees College, said: “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.

Kirklees College Principal Peter McCann

“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.”

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Dave Ellis, who is a Unison official at Kirklees College, said: “We intend to walk out in the morning and will have pickets on duty at the Waterfront campus.

“We are certainly not going to accept a pay freeze. Our claim was for a 4% pay rise for many of our members, who work in caretaking, cleaning and support posts.

“The lecturers are also embroiled in a pay dispute and we are taking this action jointly.

“It isn’t a matter for the individual employer but a national issue which comes back to Government policy.

“We are prepared to take further action and we have been told the college will effectively be closed tomorrow.

“We have 250 members in Unison and there are dozens in the ACL so a lot of people are concerned”.