Socialist Worker

College workers gear up for joint pay strike

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2490

Pickets at City and Islington College last November

Pickets at City and Islington College last November (Pic: Michael Bradley)


Further education (FE) lecturers and support staff have announced an England-wide strike for Wednesday 24 February.

The UCU and Unison union members are furious that bosses imposed a zero percent pay deal this year.

Sean Vernell is a UCU rep at City and Islington College in north London. He said, “This is the first time in ten years that there’s been a joint national strike across all English colleges.

“UCU and Unison members have seen their pay cut in real terms by 15 percent over the last five years.

“We are demanding £1 an hour extra for all.”

Bosses’ insulting pay deal isn’t the only thing fuelling workers’ anger. The Tories have slashed funding for further and adult education.

Now they are holding “area reviews” that aim to push through mergers and closures.

All of this makes it harder for working class people to get an education.

Sean said, “Staff face spiralling workloads. It’s nearly impossible for them to carry out their jobs effectively.

“Over a million student places have gone since 2010—it’s a national scandal.

“But not everything is being cut. Only one thing rises in further education every year—principals’ pay.”

The walkout takes place as NUT union members in sixth form colleges ballot for strikes over cuts.

If workers vote for strikes, the union plans a walkout and a national demonstration for members on 15 March.

Coordinating these fights and getting students involved can build a powerful campaign that can defend education from Tory attacks.

UCU London Region has called a conference on defending further and adult education for 5 March in London. Go to bit.ly/23SvXuY for details.
Vote for the left in UCU elections. Go to bit.ly/1nXHOHY for details

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