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From: The Socialist issue 953, 21 June 2017: Capitalism kills

Search site for keywords: South Wales - Strike - College - Education - UCU - Stress - Lecturers - Caerphilly - Rhondda Cynon Taff

Welsh college strike against crippling workload

Nantgarw picket line photo Socialist Party Wales

Nantgarw picket line photo Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge)

UCU Coleg y Cymoedd striker

Around 50 UCU further education union members at Coleg y Cymoedd in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Caerphilly attended picket lines on 15 June as we took strike action to defend our members against oppressive workloads and to defend quality education.

Following 20 months of negotiation and a successful ballot resulting in 93% in favour of industrial action, an intransigent management has refused to consider reasonable requests such as a workload study to ascertain how long our duties take us as a starting point to alleviate crippling workloads.

Workers have left the profession and some have taken a reduction in contractual hours as they cannot undertake duties within contracted hours. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stress survey we carried out last year identified that education was being damaged by a lack of adequate remission for quality assurances processes, inadequate provision for lecturers teaching higher education courses to update themselves on recent subject developments, and inadequate provision for lecturers required to act as course tutors. We cannot provide quality education on the cheap or on our knees.

There was a determined mood on pickets and members were buoyed by visits from trade union councils across South Wales, other local UCU branches and our learners. Several cars turned away in support when we explained our reasons for picketing.

No lecturer wants to take industrial action but we are committed to a rolling programme of action to force management to revisit its damaging work practices. As trade unionists we will defend our members from stress induced by workload and as educators we'll fight to deliver quality education for our learners.

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