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College lecturers across Scotland and in England strike over pay

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Issue 2646
UCU members at West Thames College on strike on Monday
UCU members at West Thames College on strike on Monday (Pic: Stefan Simms)

College lecturers across Scotland and in five colleges in England were set to strike over pay and conditions this week.

Members of the EIS-Fela union in Scotland are demanding a “fair cost of living pay rise” after being offered only 2 percent over three years.

This latest action, set for Thursday, was to follow strikes in January, February and earlier this month.

Many strikers are angry that the Scottish government has not intervened to force management to concede to the union’s demands.

Workers at four colleges across England were set to start a three-day strike on Wednesday. The action is the “third wave” of walkouts by UCU union members to demand more pay and better conditions.

The walkouts follow a strike at 12 colleges in January and at six last November.

UCU members at West Thames College began their three-day walkout on Monday. UCU rep Paddy said workers there were striking early in order to cause “maximum disruption”.

This is because there are more part time staff working at the college at the end of the week. Paddy said the strike was “solid” and that workers are angry at being forced to endure real terms pay cuts.

The action in colleges is getting results. UCU members at New College Swindon were due to join the strikes this week, but called off the action after agreeing a new pay deal.

The deal gives all staff a 2 percent pay rise backdated to August.

There will also be immediate changes to pay scales so that workers can move to higher paid grades faster.

Planned strikes this week were also suspended at Bath, Bridgwater and Taunton, City of Wolverhampton and Petroc colleges.

Workers at Bridgwater and Taunton have accepted an improved pay offer, while talks continue at the other three colleges.

At South Bank College, previously Lambeth College, workers voted to reject an offer of 1.5 percent and strike this week. The money is there for a real pay rise.

UCU vice president Nita Sanghera pointed to a 5 percent pay deal agreed at Capital City College Group following strikes, and a recent 4-6 percent pay deal at Bootle College.

“Most colleges that have taken action have managed to win significant gains,” she said. “We are winning.”

The colleges set to strike from Wednesday are Bradford, Croydon, Harlow and South Bank

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