Further education lecturers in the UCU union have shown that striking works. We were initially offered a 2.5 percent pay deal. But after our members took strike action, management upped this to 3.2 percent from October this year.
This is one of the highest offers in the public sector.
Yet in reality it only amounts to 2.7 percent in cash terms over the year.
And even that sum that still falls well behind inflation, which has continued to rise over the summer.
Striking has got results – but it’s clear that we can win so much more.
Since our last strike on 9 June, the living standards of our members have only got worse.
There’s a real mood of anger developing over the fact that our pay is being held back as the prices of food, fuel and other necessities soar.
UCU members were inspired by the joint action that took place on 24 April this year, when they struck alongside teachers and civil service workers to fight for decent pay.
There’s a strong feeling among many lecturers that we need more action like this, coordinated across the public sector, if we are going to win.
A successful fightback over pay will give confidence to lecturers to fight over all the other issues that they are facing, whether it’s London weighting allowances or working hours.
The UCU has organised a special sector pay conference in Birmingham on 20 September. From this we hope to launch a ballot over the latest pay offer, with a recommendation to reject, and to take more strike action hopefully coordinated with other public sector unions.
The UCU, along with the NUT, Unison and PCS unions, backed a successful motion to the TUC conference this week calling for coordinated industrial action over pay.
We have a real chance to beat Gordon Brown’s pay freeze.
But we need to work together to do it.