Workers from Brent college strike today in zero-hours contract dispute

Staff striking outside the Willesden campus in Dudden Hill Lane (Pic credit: Adam Thomas)

Staff striking outside the Willesden campus in Dudden Hill Lane (Pic credit: Adam Thomas) - Credit: Archant

Staff from a college in Brent are striking today over claims that a new policy has replaced permanent staff with zero-hours contract workers.

Members of University College Union (UCU) at the College of North West London (CNWL) based in Wembley and Willesden, staged a walkout on Monday and today as part of a long standing dispute.

The college will be visited by inspectors from education watchdogs Ofsted tomorrow and Friday.

Indro Sen, branch secretary of UCU said: “The students need permanent staff for continuity and they deserve it.”

Members at the branch took strike actionlast December, and this week’s strike action is part of escalating action to persuade the college to abandon its policy and reinstate one of its members.

Michael Starrs is one of a number of teachers who were made redundant last year. .

The union argues there is 1,000 hours of teaching available for him but they are being given to lecturers on zero hour contracts.

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Mr Sen said: “Although there are hours for Michael to teach, classes are being sent home because they cannot recruit lecturers on zero-hours to deliver the planning curriculum because it’s a specialised area.

“Students are being sent home and are very upset.”

Speaking directly to college bosses, he added: “We are prepared to talk to you and see how we can help you achieve flexibility but not at the cost of our students who deserve permanent staff.”

A spokesman for CNWL told the Times: “In line with further education colleges across the country, CNWL has had to make adjustments to deal with reductions in funding. This resulted in a number of redundancies last summer.

“The college has also used hourly paid lecturers for many years, which helps the College attract part-time staff who have current industry experience and enhance the learning opportunities we provide.

“The college firmly rejects any suggestion that services to our students have been compromised.”