College staff to walk out

COLLEGE lecturers across the region are today preparing to take industrial action in a dispute over pay. Hundreds of members of university and college lecturers union NATFHE (National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education) are set to walk out of lessons, forcing colleges to cancel classes.

COLLEGE lecturers across the region are today preparing to take industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Hundreds of members of university and college lecturers union NATFHE (National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education) are set to walk out of lessons, forcing colleges to cancel classes.

Suffolk College, in Ipswich, and Otley College are both expected to be affected with up to 300 NATFHE members expected to join the national strike.

NATFHE spokeswoman Vicky Wilks said: “The strike is going ahead and there should be protesters at both Otley and Suffolk College on the day.”

Suffolk College has already warned some classes will be cancelled due to the industrial action.

The one-day strike is the latest development in a long-running struggle by teachers in further education for pay parity with their colleagues in schools, who earn an estimated 10per cent more.

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Miss Wilks said 26,000 will take part in the one day walk-out.

She added: “The strike was prompted by a lowly 2.8pc pay offer made by college employers to lecturers for the academic year 2005/6. NATFHE argued that offer gave the green light for the pay gap with schools to widen even further.

“The bitter disappointment of this year's offer compounded the existing anger of lecturers in 65pc of England's colleges who have not yet received pay rises due last year.

“The poor pay of college lecturers is set against a background of dramatically lower overall funding for colleges than schools - a recent report confirmed schools get 13pc more per year which equates to £400 for an average student.”

Hundreds of lecturers are also expected to take part in a mass rally in Birmingham - organised to coincide with a visit by education secretary, Ruth Kelly.

Will your education be disrupted by the strike? Are you a striking lecturer? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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