Delegates to the UCU union’s further education special pay conference last Saturday voted overwhelmingly to reject a 0.2 percent pay offer and ballot for strikes.
UCU members are angry that their pay would in effect be cut this year, as inflation is running at up to 5 percent.
School teachers are to get a 2.3 percent pay rise this year, as are further education lecturers in Wales.
The debate at the conference took place in the context of recently leaked documents suggesting huge cuts in the further and adult education budgets in the government’s “spending review” on 20 October.
Some argued that we should postpone any fight to defend our pay to concentrate on fighting the cuts.
But the majority supported the position outlined by the union’s further education committee—that fighting the imposition of a pay cut should act as the focus of our more general campaigning alongside other unions and students against the cuts.
The next few weeks will be crucial, with campaigning for a strike ballot alongside fighting cuts.
There are real opportunities to develop campaigning union branches and to build the joint UCU-NUS day of action and national demonstration in defence of education on 10 November.
All of these activities can build up the momentum for a strong vote to reject the employers’ insulting pay offer and for strikes.