Lecturers and staff at Bristol’s biggest college continued their strike action today, with a rally on College Green calling for a better pay rise.
Members of the UCU union came from the City of Bristol College’s four sites across the city for the rally, calling for a better pay offer from college bosses.
The action is part of a national campaign by the UCU in colleges across the country, including in Burnley, Liverpool and Oldham.
Staff at 17 colleges across the country are taking up to ten days of strike action from this week, and staff have been picketing outside the City of Bristol College’s campuses at College Green, Ashley Down, Hengrove, Brislington and Parkway.
The staff are demanding employers make a pay offer that reflects the ‘soaring costs college staff currently face’. In June, the Association of Colleges, to which City of Bristol College belongs, recommended lecturers and teaching staff be given a 2.5 per cent pay rise, but RPI inflation is now at 12.3 per cent.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Strike action on this scale in further education is unprecedented. But our members have been left with no other option, they are being pushed into poverty by college bosses who refuse to raise pay to help them meet the cost-of-living crisis.
“College staff deliver excellent education but over the last twelve years their pay has fallen behind inflation by 35 per cent and now thousands are skipping meals, restricting energy use and considering leaving the sector altogether. This strike action will continue for 10 days unless college bosses wake up to this crisis, stop dining off the goodwill of their workforce and make a serious pay offer,” she added.
The strikes have come as City of Bristol awaits its new principal. Julia Gray was appointed in the summer to be the college’s principal and chief executive officer, but is not taking over in Bristol until January.
At College Green, between 150 and 200 college staff gathered for a rally, and heard from local union bosses, councillors and Justine Mercer, the president elect of the UCU.