Gateshead College lecturers were on strike today as talks aimed at resolving the dispute over jobs, contracts and pay had stalled. The dispute had been announced by the union when the College released plans to downgrade staff and pay before the Easter break. It was thought that a resolution had been found, but there have been some difficulties in negotiations over some of the detail.
Richard Bathgate, newly elected Branch Chair for UCU at Gateshead College, commented on today’s strike action:
Today’s action was a success and was very well supported by the membership of UCU. Over 75 members were on picket line duty and many more supported the strike call by staying away from their workplaces.
Members are angry that the College has not concluded an agreement on workloads for next year, which we think would resolve the dispute and would enable us to provide students with the quality education that they deserve.
College management are not giving proper recognition for the work that goes on outside of the classroom – the preparation for lessons and the marking workload – which is integral to the job of being a lecturer.
We want to resolve this dispute, but through an agreement which we can all sign up to for the benefit of present (and future) staff and students.
Strike action is regrettable, but a last resort. We hope that we can find a way forward through this and are committed to working for a resolution.
For more details on the dispute and the action: