Socialist Worker

25,000 college workers prepare for strike

Issue No. 1995

About 25,000 further education lecturers at 220 colleges around Britain are set to strike on 2 and 3 May over pay.

The lecturers were set to take action in November of last year when Natfhe union members voted by 71 percent for strike action.

But strikes were then suspended for talks.

An offer of 1.5 percent was made by the employers, the Association of Colleges, during initial pay talks on 21 March. This fell well short of the 7 percent that Natfhe has asked for and was rejected by all six unions involved.

The union has said that the two-day strike may mean colleges are closed for most of the week if the planned united union action on pensions also goes ahead.

Natfhe still remains in dispute over last year’s pay offer of 2.8 percent—a deal that has yet to be implemented in 43 percent of colleges.

Barry Lovejoy, Natfhe’s head of colleges, said, “The strikes we have announced will be the start of a programme of escalating industrial action up to and including indefinite strike action.”


Higher education action continueds

Higher education lecturers are continuing their action over pay this week after rejecting a pay offer of 6 percent over two years.

The AUT and Natfhe lecturers’ unions, as well as the three other unions involved in the dispute, had been due to meet the employers’ organisation UCEA on Tuesday of last week. But the AUT and Natfhe were excluded from the talks for refusing to suspend their industrial action.

A Natfhe member from Bolton university told Socialist Worker, “The action at the university is solid.

“People thought the pay offer was ridiculous.

“No one is wavering. The action has started to hit the students. They would be getting essay grades now and there has been some grumbling, but the student union supports the action.”

Both the unions have had surges in membership with over 1,300 new members joining the AUT and over 1,000 joining Natfhe since the dispute began.


Job cuts in Bolton

Governors at Bolton Community College are set to cut up to 50 members of teaching staff at the college, including 29 full time positions.

Staff at the college demonstrated on Wednesday of last week (pictured), to voice their opposition to plans which will see vital courses cut in September.

What action to take next was being discussed as Socialist Worker went to press.

Paul Maurins


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News
Sat 8 Apr 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1995
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