College lecturers in England have voted to strike on Thursday 24 April in support of a demand to bring their pay up to that of schoolteachers.
Lecturers in over 250 colleges were balloted by UCU. The UCU website states that the the result shows solid support for industrial action: 65.5% of those voting* supported strike action and 86.2% also supported other forms of industrial action short of a strike.
The union has however kept the England dispute separate from lecturers in Wales, who will be striking for 1 day on April 16 over pay.
UCU, with other FE unions, submitted a joint pay claim for a 6% increase or £1500, whichever is the greater, for 2008-9. FE unions will meet employers on 1 May.
Thousands of FE lecturers, including large numbers who are part-time and hourly paid, can't reach the higher pay levels enjoyed by schoolteachers. And no FE lecturers get the allowances enjoyed by 50% of schoolteachers worth between £2,364 to £11,557 p.a. on top of the pay scales
Growing workload are also a major concern. As well as teaching, lecturers carry out course development, lesson preparation, marking, professional development and administration. A quarter of lecturers already teach more than 850 hours a year, jeopardising quality in UCU's view. The lecturers want negotiations on common conditions of service across all colleges.
A major independent study, soon to be published by UCU, reveals high levels of staff dissatisfaction and low morale throughout colleges in England, a serious challenge to both employers and the government.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who teach in schools, are also striking on Thursday 24 April over a separate pay claim.
In both schools and colleges, many teaching professionals believe their employers are ignoring their professional status and serving business interests at the expense of community needs. NUT and UCU and the National Union of Students, NUS recently launched a joint campaign 'Our schools, our colleges, our communities' to draw attention to threats to the quality of local, public education from college marketisation, 'city academies' and cuts in public services.
Wales FE lecturers to strike on 16 April
College lecturers vote to strike on pay