9:22am Thursday 24th March 2011
By Haydn Lewis
EDUCATION chiefs at York College say it is business as usual for students today as universities and colleges braced themselves for a day of strike action by lecturers.
The University and College Union (UCU) has called for a national day of Industrial Action today, in support of the 2010/11 pay recommendation and the Government’s proposed changes to pensions.
As The Press reported yesterday, staff at the University of York took part in the first of two days of industrial action on Tuesday.
The pension changes would see retirement age raised, increased contributions for union members, and would end the current final salary element of the scheme.
Having assessed the potential impact of this action, York College bosses say they have no plans to cancel classes.
A spokeswoman for the college said: “The college regrets the action which is being taken by a small number of staff and has taken measures to ensure a safe and secure environment for students and staff. Classes will be going ahead as normal, although there may be restrictions to some lessons.
“Also, the A-level student interview evening, for courses starting in September, will also go ahead as planned.
“The Association of Colleges (AoC) has said it is deeply disappointed by UCU’s decision to call its members out on strike today, not least because such action will disrupt students and have a detrimental impact on the reputation of colleges. Colleges will, of course, work hard to minimise any disruption to their students and staff.”
The York College Construction Centre at Osbaldwick, the York College Nursery and the College’s Yorkshire Rail Academy will operate as normal. Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said: “University and college staff really value their pension rights and have made it clear from the start of this dispute that if the employers were not prepared to negotiate then we would be left with little option but to take strike action.”
Staff from both the University of York and York St John University will also be on strike today.
Both universities have said they will be open as normal and will take all reasonable steps to minimise disruption.
A spokesman for the University of York said: “We experienced minimal disruption on Tuesday as a result of the strike action by the UCU – not least because the strike fell outside term-time. “The local branch has reported about 50 people took part in its rally, which is less than two per cent of our total workforce of 3,200.
“We are confident that all services on campus will be open as normal today.
“The university supports the view of the Employers’ Pensions Forum that the union should return to the Joint Negotiating Committee and end its boycott.”
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