Eleven colleges launch strikes!

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Lively picket at Westminster Kingsway College in north London yesterday morning on the first day of their three-day strike
Lively picket at Westminster Kingsway College in north London yesterday morning on the first day of their three-day strike

ELEVEN colleges launched three days of strike action yesterday morning after rejecting a 1% pay offer which, when inflation is taken into account, is actually a pay cut. They have vowed a further five days of strike action if they do not receive a decent pay rise.

There was a lively picket outside Westminster Kingsway College near Kings Cross, north London yesterday morning. Lecturer and UCU member Desmond Corlis told News Line: ‘The lecturers have been exploited by the managers for too long now. ‘It is time for parity. They need to sit down and talk sensibly about fair pay and fair pensions. ‘They need to recognise the value teachers are creating for young people. ‘There will be more action. Management are refusing to talk to us. They are trying to create a war of attrition.

‘The students are suffering, management don’t seem to care. We need a general strike. ‘These fragmented actions are not generating enough pressure and the government know it. ‘We want to do like France and bring the Tories down. ‘We need a change of government. What they are doing with the Russian smokescreen is nonsense to divert from the real issues affecting the country.’

At the College of North East London (CoNEL) in Tottenham, striking Further Education college lecturers were boosted when students joined their picket line in support, and classes were closed on the first day of the UCU union national pay strike. Staff have suffered pay yearly pay cuts since 2009 due to inflation and are 25 per cent poorer compared to then.

Lecturers have rejected this year’s one per cent ‘pay cut’ and are demanding a 6.9 per cent salary increase. They are outraged that FE college principals’ salaries have rocketed by £17,000 over the last 10 years, to an average of £137,000.