Staff strike at Kingston Maurward College

Dorset Echo: Staff man picket line at Kingston Maurward College Staff man picket line at Kingston Maurward College

LECTURERS formed a picket line in a ‘last resort’ campaign over pay and communication at Kingston Maurward College.

They said the strike, which was part of a University and College Union day of national action, was in response to a recent reshuffle at the Dorchester college.

Representatives said it was ‘not an easy decision’ but felt they had no choice.

They said a number of issues – such as inconsistencies in pay scale and being asked to work ‘more for less’ had lead to the action.

Union representative Toby Hammond said: “We are striking because of the erosion to pay and conditions nationally and on a local level, conditions at the college.

“Our pay has gone down by 15 percent in the last five years, while the cost of living has gone up.

“We’re working for less.

“We are paid 20 percent less than school teachers but are still teaching students in years 10 and 11.

“We have just had a staff restructure and while we recognise that the college needs to save money – we are getting less from the Government – the problem has been communication.

“And that lack of communication has re-ignited the union.”

He added: “On a national level, we are asking to go back to the negotiating table.

“Striking is a last resort.

“Locally, this college does not subscribe to the national pay scale. We would like it to sign up.”

Striking staff member Liz deLongh said: “People don’t want to strike – it’s a very difficult personal decision.

“It’s not an easy decision to make but we have to take action.

“Some staff have been expected to re-apply for their roles at lower pay.”

Clare Davison, Kingston Maurward College principal, pictured inset, said: “Naturally the college regrets any disruption to students caused by this national action today and we do understand the financial pressures placed on teaching staff by the recent national pay recommendations.

“We are mindful that colleagues have experienced a period of uncertainty following an essential restructure, but no employee at Kingston Maurward College has been asked to re-apply for their existing job on a lower wage.

“Discussions are underway with eight administrative assistants currently affected, however it is anticipated that most of these staff members will be redeployed into other roles within the organisation.”

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