New College Stamford lecturers joined a rally in London to back a dispute over pay.
Members of the University and College Union, or UCU, joined colleagues from across the country outside the Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street, Westminster, during the industrial action yesterday (Tuesday, November 10).
The strike is in response to a pay freeze imposed by the Association of Colleges, the national employers’ body. Unions have asked for an extra £1 per hour on all pay scales. The UCU says lecturers’ pay has fallen in real terms by 17 per cent since 2009 as a result of well below inflation rises.
According to the UCU the gap between teachers’ and lecturers’ pay now stands at around £2,000 per annum.
At the rally speeches were heard from a number of figures including shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden
UCU branch secretery in Stamford Godfrey Jennings said: “We felt it was refreshing getting support from the Labour Party, when in the past they have sat on the fence.”
He added: “We are outraged that a combination of Government funding, employer unwillingness to negotiate and increased workloads has led to the need to take industrial action. Can it be right that a lecturer teaching the same course to the same-aged students is paid less than a teacher in a school?
“The focus of this dispute is national. Colleges like New College Stamford are being starved of funding and some colleges are really struggling. The Government is undertaking local area reviews which many in the sector believe will be the mechanism by which colleges will close or forced to merge to survive.”
Some lessons were disrupted as a result of the strike.