A SECOND day of strike action at York College has been suspended amid an offer of meaningful talks on pay, union bosses have confirmed.

On Monday this week (September 11) staff at the college who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) staged strike action in a dispute over pay and status.

The action led to the college closing its doors on what should have been the first day of term for students. 

Official negotiations which began with a union claim for a 10 per cent pay increase in January this year and an offer of two-and-a- half per cent from employers had stalled.

A second day of strike action had been due to take place on Friday, September 15, but the UCU said the action had been suspended after York College had come back with an offer of meaningful talks on pay.

On Monday, York Central MP Rachael Maskell attended the picket line at the college in Tadcaster Road and called on college bosses to engage with members of the striking union.

Speaking earlier this week, Ms Maskell said: “When the cost of living and inflation are causing serious hardship to college staff, an offer of just two-and-a-half per cent not only is an insult, but makes staff the poor relation in the education sector.

York Press: The MP for York Central (front) attended Monday's strike actionThe MP for York Central (front) attended Monday's strike action (Image: UCU - York College branch)

“Lecturers, already on comparatively lower wages, dedicate themselves to teaching as they are committed to giving students the very best opportunities in life.

“York College would be nothing without them.

“I believe it is time for the college to negotiate a meaningful deal for the staff, without laying out conditions.”

A spokesperson for York College & University Centre Management Team said on Wednesday: “In the pay year disputed, we invested an additional £1.1 million in pay.

“This enabled us to bring forward the national minimum wage implementation from April to January 2023, to give staff one-off cost-of-living payments of between £300 and £800, with the largest amounts going to staff on the lowest pay in December 2022, as well as a consolidated award of 2.5 per cent January 1 this year. 

“The combined impact of these decisions led us to post a deficit in the relevant financial year. 

 “We have now been allocated new funds from August 1 2023 and are keen to engage with the UCU, as well as NASUWT and UNISON, to determine how this should be used to improve the pay of staff. ”