Around 7,000 further education lecturers in the UCU union in London are set to strike on Monday of next week in the next stage of the battle against Gordon Brown’s public sector pay limit.
The strike will coincide with a TUC lobby of parliament, which will see hundreds of workers come together to demand decent pay.
Lecturers have been offered a below-inflation 2.5 percent “rise”. All six unions in further education rejected this offer last month and unions are due to meet the employer again on Thursday of this week.
The strike follows the events of 24 April, which saw three public sector unions – the UCU, NUT and PCS – take joint strike action over pay.
Ben Jones is a UCU rep at the College of North East London (Conel). He told Socialist Worker, “It’s looking strong for next Monday. We’ve been leafleting the college about the strike and the lobby. Not one person has opposed what we’re doing.
“Some people are concerned about losing pay. But a survey showed that further education lecturers work an average of 15 hours unpaid overtime a week.
“In our college that means £7,000 a week savings on wages. This will only get worse if we don’t fight back.”
The UCU is organising a levy of members outside London so that strikers will not lose a whole day’s pay.
UCU and Unison union members have also organised joint protests over pay at colleges across the country for Wednesday of this week, which will help to build the lobby.
“At Conel we have an event organised at lunchtime with music and speakers from the UCU, Unison and Love Music Hate Racism,” said Ben.
“We’ll be using the event to recruit to the unions and to build for the strike and lobby.”
Workers at City College Norwich have planned a lunchtime walkout and protest for Wednesday.
A UCU rep at the college said, “Underfunding and pay cuts for workers while bonuses for those at the top continue to go unchallenged is not acceptable. It is time the government and employers got their priorities right.”
Further education lecturers plan a two-day strike in September if they do not win a decent pay offer.
Join the TUC lobby of parliament for fair pay, 1pm, Monday 9 June, Central Hall, Westminster, London