Hull College staff vote in favour of strike action over pay and ‘controversial’ observation system

Union says internal lesson observation system has left staff 'more stressed and anxious than ever'

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Tuesday 26 April 2016 12:29 BST
Hull College
Hull College (Google)

Staff members at Hull College are to go on strike after voting in favour of industrial action in a row over pay and a “controversial” lesson observation system.

The University and College Union (UCU) - which represents staff in UK higher and further education sectors - said college management had offered staff a 0.7 per cent pay rise last September.

The union also added that management had pledged to make positive changes to the lesson observation process which had been heavily criticised by teachers at the college.

However, the UCU said the college went back on its promise to make a pay award, and staff have complained that changes to the internal lesson observation system are leaving them “more stressed and anxious than ever.”

The UCU added: “College management has not listened to staff concerns and there has been no attempt to make improvements to the observation system within the academic year.”

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, described how strike action is always “a last resort” for staff, and said this was the first time ever that UCU members at Hull College had announced industrial action over a local issue.

She said: “After the false hope and empty promises from management, our members feel they have been let down and now have no choice but to take action.

“We again call on the college to honour the pay increase previously offered, immediately suspend the punitive lesson observation system, and get round the table to agree positive changes that support teaching and learning rather than threatening lecturing staff.”

From the number of UCU members that took part in the ballot over strike action, just over 95 per cent voted in favour of a walk out on 3 May.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Hull College Group described how less than 12 per cent of the group’s overall workforce had voted for industrial action at some of the group’s sites on the date.

The spokesperson said: “The management team and UCU are continuing to meet to resolve the issues which ensure the group’s overall financial position is protected in a challenging funding climate for the FE sector, as well as ensuring the high quality of our teaching and learning is maintained as highlighted by Ofsted in our most recent inspection.”

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