College staff walk out in a row over pensions

Wakefield College strike action over pension cuts.'w4790b112
Wakefield College strike action over pension cuts.'w4790b112

STAFF at Wakefield College went on strike yesterday over a row about pensions and pay.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) picketed outside the Margaret Street and Thornes Park campuses.

The union is angry over plans for greater pension contributions from staff, and an increase in the pension age.

Peter Korn-Morris, A-level geography teacher and local branch secretary for the union, said: “We had a good turn out and practically shut down the Margaret Street campus. We had a huge impact on the other two campuses too.

“It showed management what an impact we can have if we call our numbers out and sends the message out to other unions that someone is doing something about it.”

Mr Korn-Morris, 41, said 50 voluntary severances were announced recently, adding: “If they don’t get the numbers coming forward then there’s likely to be compulsory redundancies and we will ballot against that and make them explore other avenues.”

The action was part of the first UK-wide strike in universities for five years and the first in further education colleges since 2008.

A college spokesman said: “There has been some effect on teaching at our sites today but, where possible, students have been in classes across all three campuses.

“It is unfortunate that local students are directly being affected by national issues, however, we are looking forward to returning to normal teaching tomorrow.”