​Landmark deal celebrated across Further and Higher Education sectors

A long-running pay dispute has been successfully brought to an end thanks to a landmark agreement between Bradford College and the University and College Union (UCU).

Director of People Services Sarah Cooper and the Bradford College branch of the Union have worked in partnership to implement a new Contracts of Employment Policy, which reduces part-time hourly paid (PTHP) and other casual forms of employment with more people moved to permanent contracts. Under the agreement, employees have also been given five additional days’ holiday through College closures at Christmas and Easter.

Highlighted as an example of best practice in the sector, the news has been welcomed not only within the Bradford College community but by staff and union representatives across the further and higher education sectors.

Sarah said: "I am delighted with the outcomes achieved in this agreement. This represents a major step forward for the staff of the College and despite the financial challenges we are under, we have done it as it was the right and fair thing to do. To resolve the anti-casualisation that has been an issue at the College for so many years is fantastic and I am pleased that UCU recognises this as setting the standard for the sector."

The dispute over no compulsory redundancies was ended in the negotiations process relating to the recent college restructure. Julie Kelley, UCU Regional Official for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: "The agreement we have reached with Bradford College brings an end to UCU's long-running local disputes over pay and proposed compulsory redundancies. The elements of the agreement will bring about big improvements to the job security, status and pay of the College's casualised workforce. It represents a landmark deal for FE Colleges in Yorkshire and Humberside and sets the standard for other colleges and universities to follow.”

The agreement was highlighted in regional and sector media including the Times Educational Supplement and FE Week as well as regional press including the Bradford Telegraph and Argus and the Yorkshire Post. In a UCU press release, Julie said: “Other places could learn from Bradford College and we hope institutions will work with us to end the blight of casualisation in our colleges and universities.”

The news was also welcomed via social media. UCU Vice President Vicky Blake tweeted: “This is a sector-leading deal. There is (always!) more to be done at Bradford College and across the sector but what a shining light this deal is, especially the threats to jobs dispatched with (and) significant movement of casualised staff into secure contracts. So, so inspiring!”

In the new policy, implemented from 1 November 2019, there will be a phased roll-out plan for existing part time hourly paid staff with over two years of service who will have the opportunity to move to a permanent contract of employment.

 

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