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Unions 2000 Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Anger over college pay rates
college lecture
College staff feel undervalued by the government
An angry college lecturer has accused a government minister to her face of offering "peanuts" for further education salaries.

The Schools Minister, Jacqui Smith, told the Professional Association of Teachers annual conference that 50m extra would be going towards further education pay as a result of the spending review announced last month.

She said "comparable money" should be available in the next few years.

But Alan Bristow, who teaches business at Southport College, Merseyside, demanded to know when the government would start paying staff decent wages.

Shaking with anger, Mr Bristow said that money had to be split between 500 further education and higher education colleges.

"You are talking in terms of peanuts, you really are," he told Ms Smith.

"What do you want, blood?"

'Pat answer'

Lecturers had had to put up with below inflation increases for the last 10 years, Mr Bristow added.

Ms Smith said she took his point that salaries had suffered under the last government but that Labour was committed to changing that.

Afterwards, Mr Bristow said it would cost the government 2.4bn to bring salaries back to the levels of the early 90s.

"You can see why I'm upset, because I can't see that happening," he said.

"I think the Treasury is not willing and when I asked the minister that question, I get exactly the same pat answer that I got last year when I asked her predecessor the same question."

See also:

19 Jul 00 | UK Education
10 Feb 00 | UK Education
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