Hull College Group staff strike dates announced for May

Hull College
Image caption Hull College has three main centres in Hull, Goole and Harrogate

Staff at three Yorkshire colleges are set to walk out in May in a row over plans to axe 231 jobs, a union has said.

Hull College Group, which runs colleges in Hull, Goole and Harrogate, has started a restructuring plan to deal with a £10m deficit.

The University and College Union (UCU) said members would take action on 9, 17 and 18 May after voting to strike.

The college said it was "making plans to minimise the disruption".

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UCU said it had resorted to taking industrial action because of the college's plans to cut "a third of the workforce".

Image copyright Hull College Group
Image caption The union backed a vote of no confidence in CEO Michelle Swithenbank and had called for her resignation

Last week the union called for the resignation of the college's chief executive, Michelle Swithenbank, saying her position was "untenable after a failure to defend jobs".

It backed a vote of no confidence in her after allegations against the management team of "attempted bullying and bribery" to deter staff from attending "a protest against the running of the college".

But the college denied the allegations and said it had "absolute confidence in Michelle and the leadership team".

'Sustainable future'

Julie Kelley, UCU regional official, said: "Staff at the Hull College Group feel they have been left with no alternative but to take strike action in their attempt to save jobs and educational opportunities."

She sad the proposals were "deeply damaging" and called for the college to "halt the cuts and provide a transparent review".

In a statement, the college said industrial action would "negatively impact our ability to recruit new learners and will not solve the group's financial and operational issues".

"We therefore urge the union to work with us in the ongoing consultation, carried out by SLT (senior leadership team) and with the full support of the Corporation, as we aim to secure a sustainable future for our colleges."

Nearly 80% of UCU members at the college who were balloted for strike action voted in favour.

Last year, the college's financial management was criticised in a report by the further education commissioner, which said it had "significant failures" and its leadership and governance needed to improve.

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