Wembley college dispute over post merger workloads ends

College of North West London

College of North West London - Credit: Archant

A long-running dispute about increased workloads involving a Wembley college has ended after a deal was agreed on a new contract.

The dispute centred on college bosses’ failure to implement a previously agreed contract after the College of North West London (CNWL) and City of Westminster College merged to create United Colleges Group (UCG) in 2017.

Management then unilaterally removed timetabled non-teaching hours from staff contracts in September 2020.

These timetabled hours were part of the contract UCG had originally agreed with UCU following the merger.

The deal comes after members of the University and College Union (UCU) balloted for industrial action to reverse changes to their contracts that would have resulted in increased workloads.

An overwhelming 99 per cent of those who voted had said they were willing to take strike action over the changes.

UCU welcomed the deal and said it was looking forward to a new positive working relationship between the union and UCG.

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The new deal paves the way for a new contract with timetabled non-teaching hours as well as allocated time for career development for all teaching staff.

Hourly paid lecturers are now able to retain historical arrangements on payments for the time spent working with tutor groups and for career development.

The new deal also allows a new collective agreement between UCG and UCU that includes commitments on working conditions including workload protection and summer leave periods.

CNWL and City of Westminster College agreed to merge in May  17.

Opposition to the merger plans included uncertainty over the impact of staffing at the colleges and the loss of provision.

But the corporation said the merger would not result in the Wembley Park and Willesden campuses – which cater for more than 10,000 students aged 14 and above - to close.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "This deal is a testament to our members’ determination to fight attacks on their working conditions.

"We should never have been forced to ballot for industrial action, however the strong vote for strike action forced the college back to the table, where this agreement was eventually secured.

"We hope this deal will now pave the way for a more positive working relationship and improved future negotiations on pay and conditions at the college."