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Pay Dispute Could Lead to Strikes in 79% of UK FE Colleges

This week college lecturers around the country will decide if they are to take strike-action as the pay dispute rumbles on. NAFTHE’s 26,000 members are deliberating over whether to take action over their growing unease with pay; the proposed action could affect 221 of England’s 280 colleges.

The strike-action under consideration is for a one-day strike in November, which will be taken in tandem with a rally being conducted during a proposed visit of Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly MP. The pay dispute has been fuelled by a pay offer of just 2.8% to college lecturers, which has been rejected by the union who want lecturer’s wages to be increased to the same as school teachers, who earn 10% more on average.

The Latest Flashpoint

The pay offer is the latest flash point in a long running dispute over unfulfilled pay commitments from last year that has effected over 65% of lecturers. The problem has been highlighted by a recent report that revealed that colleges received much less funding than schools, in some cases up to 13% less.

Barry Lovejoy, NATFHEs Head of Colleges, explained: “Pay chaos has reigned in colleges for far too long. By accepting this year’s pitiful pay offer, NATFHE would have effectively been giving the green light for the scandalous gap between college lecturers and schoolteachers to grow even bigger. To add insult to injury, lecturers at 65% of colleges haven”t even had last year’s rise.”

He continued: “Unless this sorry situation is addressed, both by the Association of Colleges and the government, colleges will not be able to recruit desperately-needed new teachers, who will understandably opt for better paid jobs in schools. With half the FE workforce due to retire within 10 years, this is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Dan Atkinson

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