Socialist Worker

Ballot in colleges for strike over pay freeze ‘offer’

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2473

College lecturers are balloting for strikes over pay.

The ballot, involving UCU union members in further education (FE) across England, could see tens of thousands of lecturers strike later this year.

The union had asked college bosses to agree to a £1 an hour pay rise for all staff. But the bosses’ Association of Colleges instead recommended a pay freeze.

The attack on pay comes as FE lecturers face a massive assault on jobs. 

A government cut of 24 percent to adult education funding has led to colleges across Britain announcing redundancies and cuts. Lecturers’ pay has effectively been cut by more than 17 percent over the last six years. 

If the new attack goes through it will pile more pressure on lecturers to leave—and hit students’ education.

Members should organise meetings in their workplaces to organise to get out the yes vote. The ballot ends on 15 October.

The UCU Left, which Socialist Worker supports, has called a national conference for Sat 10 Oct, University College London. Go to for details and to register

Lecturers' pay briefings can prepare for action

UCU union members in higher education are holding a series of briefings over pay.

Some 40 reps attended one in London last week, while 16 union branches were represented in Edinburgh.

Lecturers agreed that the union should campaign over pay—but there was disagreement over whether there should be a strike ballot now or next year.

Some in the union were pessimistic about the possibility of winning support for action. 

But others argued that the union leadership had a responsibility for building successful campaigns and giving workers’ confidence by showing it was serious about fighting. Workers who are less confident can be won to supporting strikes if the argument is made.

Reps felt the national union should better prepare workers for the possibility of strikes. A proper campaign can galvanise workers and build a strong fight over pay.

The Tories are likely to unleash more cuts in higher education in November. 

Socialist Worker supporters argued that the union should fight over pay this year.

Birmingham’s briefing is on Thursday of this week and Manchester’s on Friday. Go to for details

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Article information

Tue 29 Sep 2015, 15:59 BST
Issue No. 2473
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