Gateshead College announced to their staff before the Easter break that they were going to be dismissed from their current terms and conditions. Not a good way for staff to begin a well deserved break in the run-up to examination and assessment time.
The Branch met on Tuesday 17th April 2012 to discuss the proposals and overwhelmigly voted to begin the process of preparing for a concerted campaign of industrial action.
On Wedneday 18th April 2012, over 80 branch members atteneded a protest outside the main College entrance, supported by Regional Office staff. The spontaneous slow hand-clapping of the senior leadership team as they walked through the throng of staff who face pay cuts of around £10,000 a year showed the strength of feeling of the UCU membership at Gateshead College.
The threat to remove all workload protections has rung alarm bells with staff and genuine fears about the impact this will have on the quality of education that they will be able to provide.
UCU Branch representatives, supported by Iain Owens (Regional Official) have begun the negotiations and have made clear that members want a guarantee that they will suffer no financial detriment. No guarantee has been forthcoming and the campaign and protests (as below) will continue.