Workplace Report April 2021

Bargaining news

Strikes to begin across NI colleges

Members of the UCU union at six further education colleges in Northern Ireland are planning a day of strike action unless the government addresses their concerns over pay and conditions.

There are also plans for further continuous action short of a strike should the government at Stormont not meet their demands for a decent pay rise. This will see staff working only contracted hours, refusing to work overtime, and boycotting additional duties.

Staff voted overwhelmingly to take action after receiving a pay offer of 7% over four years. That equates to an annual pay rise of 1.2% over a nine-year period and, says the union, is a real terms cut. Some 87% of the union’s members voted for strike action, and over 96% said they will take action short of strike.

The UCU’s Northern Ireland official, Katharine Clarke, said: “There is no excuse for our further education members continuing to receive such low pay compared to the rest of the education sector. Unless the minister [for the economy] moves to address the situation, the sector will be hit with continuous industrial action.”