Lecturers at Gateshead College took to the picket lines this morning to protest once again over a dispute about conditions of service. The dispute continues as a deal on workload and working conditions has yet to be agreed.
The College have downgraded some lecturers to “facilitators”, many on the picket line feeling that their skills and experience have been ignored. “The talents of our lecturers are just not being valued”, was a comment expressed by many.
There was good support at all picket lines. At the Skills Academy, many drivers showed their support by beeping their horns as they drove along the Kingsway. When the Police turned up, Jon Bryan (Regional Support Official for UCU) spoke to them about the action and why UCU members were on strike. The Officer explained that our strike action had been “logged” by the College and so they came down to investigate. One of the pickets commented – “Its good that it’s having an effect!”
There was some consternation on the picket lines when members were told that the Principal was on business in the Far East. “Perhaps he should be paying more attention to issues that are closer to home”, was a common view being expressed.
Ritchie Bathgate, Chair of the UCU Branch at Gateshead College said:
Members have shown great resolve by voting again for strike action in pursuit of an agreement on workload which we believe will protect the quality of education we deliver. We will continue this dispute until we have a deal that we can all sign up to.
A further strike by UCU members has been called for Wednesday 10th October 2012.