Lecturers walk out

COLLEGE lecturers from across Suffolk joined colleagues across the country in strike action today in a dispute over funding and pay.They were joined by thousands of lecturers from around 220 colleges across the country who are unhappy with a lack of parity with their colleagues in schools and universities.

COLLEGE lecturers from across Suffolk joined colleagues across the country in strike action today in a dispute over funding and pay.

They were joined by thousands of lecturers from around 220 colleges across the country who are unhappy with a lack of parity with their colleagues in schools and universities.

Union officials from NATFHE (National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education) have also blasted the “lowly” 2.8 per cent pay offer for this academic year.

Classes at Suffolk College and Otley College were affected by the one-day walk out, with up to 300 NATFHE members taking part in the action.

More than 40 teachers and lecturers from Suffolk College picketed at various points outside the institution buildings throughout the day.

Lisa McNulty, an A-level maths teacher at Suffolk College, said the pay discrepancy was a symptom of a funding problem which saw colleges receive 13pc less cash every year than schools.

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She said: “We do the same work as teachers in schools and our higher education lecturers do the same work as those in universities, but we don't get the funding to help us in the classroom.

“Funding is the real problem because if it was available the pay would be there too.”

English teacher Martin Peck said the students were supportive of the action.

“They have backed what we are doing,” he said. “The common feeling is shock that we get less pay. We don't make a big issue about it to the students but if they ask what this is about, they are always very surprised.”

Protesters were also expected to target Education Secretary Ruth Kelly today when she announced details of a funding package for colleges at a conference in Birmingham.

Do you support the strike action? 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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