Disparity between college & school funding prompts strike
University and College Union (UCU) members at Kendal College have voted to take part in industrial action, to mark the underfunding of FE Colleges in relation to their pay.
Total UCU membership at the College represents 38% of the total workforce; however, in December 52% of eligible members voted to state that they were prepared to take industrial action consisting of a strike, with the first round of industrial action planned later this month.
Whilst Kendal College has already awarded staff a 1% pay increase this year as recommended by the Association of Colleges (AoC), the unions are asking for a pay increase of 5% to match the pay rise given to teachers working in a school setting, which was funded by the Government earlier this year.
Principal and CEO of Kendal College Kelvin Nash said:
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication that every member of staff gives to Kendal College and that commitment is palpable when you enter the building. Over the last decade, the FE sector has had to deal with an average 30% funding cut, whilst our running and delivery costs have increased dramatically. As a result of government underfunding and with no change in that situation imminent, the College is unable to afford more than the current 1% being paid.
It is regrettable that we are in this situation, and my focus will be on keeping the College open and ensuring that our students and their studies are not adversely affected as a result of any industrial action. I fully understand the position and sympathise with the staffing body of Kendal College, and will obviously respect any actions and decisions they make going forward.
Kendal College finances are classified as being ‘satisfactory’ and we have been under early financial intervention for the last two years with little change in our overall financial health position.
Over recent months, in order to improve the Colleges finances and to allow us to invest more in staff and resource, I have been actively making savings and efficiencies, with these savings being used to secure the College’s ongoing ability to deliver first class education and training”.
The College will continue to work with UCU and staff representatives as appropriate.
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