wakefield_prison_cropped.jpg Teachers who work in UK prisons struck this week against changes to their contracts which could see some of them losing up to £7000 per year The teachers who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) work in prisons across the UK. The prison education service is run by The Manchester College (TMC) and the union says the new contract will mean longer working hours and cuts in holiday and sick pay entitlements. The Presisdent of the UCU told the BBC:  "Our members don't want to take strike action, but they have been left with no choice. "It is deeply concerning that Britain's largest prison education provider is trying to force through new contracts that will seriously jeopardise prison education in this country." TMC says it is trying to ensure the long term viability of the service - using the time honoured method of trying to force the people working in public services - in this case doing the hard and important work of educating prisoners - to plug the funding gap at the expense of their own pay and conditions. Interestingly TMC is heavily involved in the so-called 'academies' programme - similar to charter schools in the US - which are being used to break the link between local democracy and schooling in the UK, setting their own pay and conditions and weakening teacher trade unionism.