Lecturers strike over pay

24 May 01
College lecturers went on their first national strike for a decade this week, causing disruption during exam time for students at 290 colleges across England.

25 May 2001

The lecturers' union Natfhe held the strike on May 22 over pay and a 3% offer from the college employers, the Association of Colleges (AoC), which they rejected.

Natfhe is demanding a flat increase of £3,000 for all lecturers, which would bring the average salary of £19,000 up to £22,000, and a pro-rata rise for all part-time staff.

Rallies by college lecturers were held during the day in central London, Birmingham and Newcastle, with a lobby of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff. Natfhe claims 30,000 members took part in the action. Further action by the union is to be decided at the end of May.

'Lecturers do not take strike action lightly,' said Paul Mackney, Natfhe general secretary. 'Our members have seen pay fall 10% behind that of school teachers, who are themselves not satisfied. We hope this message will be heard, not only in colleges but on the election campaign trail.'

The AoC said the strike was 'irresponsible'. Ivor Jones, the AoC's director of employment, said: 'Many colleges simply are not in a position to pay the sums that Natfhe is demanding. The future lies in continuing sensible dialogue and joint pressure on government to address the gross historical imbalance in funding.'

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers called Natfhe's action premature. 'Given that the employers have made an initial offer in response to our pay claim and another meeting is planned, we are concerned that industrial action will make it more difficult to achieve a higher offer,' said ATL's deputy general secretary Gerald Imison.


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