Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 10:52 UK

Pay row prompts lecturers' strike

College students
Staff at five further education colleges are staging the 24-hour strike

Lecturers at five English colleges have gone on strike over a long-running pay dispute with bosses.

Staff at Doncaster College, Rotherham College and Leeds College of Art and Design are staging the 24-hour action.

Employees at Greenwich Community College in London and Suffolk New College in Ipswich are also out on the picket lines.

They are unhappy that bosses have not implemented a 2004 pay recommendation which would result in wage increases.

'Decent wage'

The University and College Union (UCU) said some further education lecturers would earn up to £4,500 more a year if the pay recommendation was put in place.

It described the failure to implement the new wage system as "one of the longest IOUs" in the history of industrial relations.

UCU branch secretary for Doncaster, Hazel Raven, said classes at the college had been cancelled for some students.

"It is regrettable and we are sorry that this is a consequence of the action, but we need management to talk to us and find a resolution to this dispute," she said.

Student impact

"This recommendation has been followed by about three quarters of colleges and while we recognise there is not a lot of money about at the moment, we feel our staff deserve a decent wage."

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Flexible agreements have been agreed at a host of other colleges with serious financial difficulties to implement the deal, so there really is no excuse for these colleges to continue to refuse paying their staff fairly."

A spokeswoman for the Association of Colleges, which made the pay recommendation, said: "We are disappointed that the UCU is calling for industrial action at these colleges, not least because of the impact that this will have on students at the beginning of the new academic year."

She added that under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, colleges had the right to determine their own pay and conditions and national recommendations were only advisory.



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