East Sussex College responds as staff threaten strike action

East Sussex College Group - Eastbourne campus
East Sussex College Group - Eastbourne campus

East Sussex College is calling for better funding for further education after staff threatened to strike.

Nine out of 10 (91 per cent) of the college staff who were members of the University College Union (UCU) backed industrial action in December in a row over pay.

Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College Group

Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College Group

The college group says it ‘genuinely empathise[s]’ with the concerns of union members and is calling on the Government to increase investment in the further education sector.

Up to 40 jobs at risk at East Sussex Colleges

Responding to these concerns, Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College, said, “The threat of strike action was the result of national pay bargaining between the University and College Union (UCU) and the Association of Colleges (AoC).

“In previous years, following similar ballots, the college held discussions with the union at a local level with a view to establishing a local pay agreement.

“The college understands lecturers want a fair deal and we genuinely empathise with many of the union’s concerns.”

He added, “We are keen to talk to the union at a local level to try to resolve possible strike action. Any strike action could impact on our students and their ability to study at a crucial time of the academic year.

“Instead, we want to work with our union colleagues to demand better Government investment in the further education sector.

“Government investment in the Further Education sector is at an all-time low, losing eight per cent funding for 16-18-year-old students and 30 per cent for adult students, leading to stresses and strains at every level.

“When we compare our funding to that of secondary schools, we are very much the poor relation.”

The College says it is fully behind a petition to gather support for fairer funding for the sector.

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