Suffolk colleges ignore strike call

Lecturers at colleges in Suffolk will not be on strike when fellow NATFHE members stage protest action across the country next week.Two strike days have been set for next Tuesday and Wednesday after the Association of Colleges (AoC) declared itself unable to award a pay increase of more than1.

By James Fraser

LECTURERS at colleges in Suffolk will not be on strike when fellow union members stage protest action across the country next week.

Two strike days have been set for next Tuesday and Wednesday after the Association of Colleges declared itself unable to award a pay increase of more than1.5 per cent to further education lecturers.

Two days of demonstrations are being planned by Suffolk College lecturers, to publicise the need for extra further education funding.

On May 28 and 29, the Suffolk College Branch of University and Colleges Lecturers' Union NATFHE will hold demonstrations and give out leaflets to highlight the problem to students and visitors.

There will be deomonstrations at the college entrance on May 28 from 12noon to 2pm, and on the Cornhill in Ipswich from 12noon to 2pm, where a petition can be signed.

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West Suffolk College, which has its main campus at Bury St Edmunds and has a branch in Stowmarket is also not joining the strike action.

"We will not be coming out on strike at West Suffolk College," said Garry Jesney, branch NATFHE rep for the college.

"The union decided not to ballot us, as we had already agreed a local deal. However, the four NATFHE representatives from this college will be attending a national rally on May

29 in London, because the local branch believes it should have pay parity with teachers."

Colleges were given a 2.5 per cent budget increase, while at the same time, ministers promised a 3.5 per cent pay increase to school teachers.

"I am very pleased that our lecturers will not be striking next week at a crucial time for students" said Nick Foster, West Suffolk College Principal.

"It is a tribute to the excellent industrial relations at the College and the fact that we have already settled this year's pay round that the national union exempted our lecturers from the ballot".

However, he added that the base line funding for colleges continues to decline, making it impossible for us to pay our staff what they properly deserve".

NAFTHE members at Suffolk College in Ipswich are not striking either. They will be demonstrating and leafleting at the college's main entrance on Tuesday. On Wednesday they will be collecting signatures at the Cornhill in the town centre.