BY TOBY PORTER
Lecturers were on strike this week claiming they have seen their pay fall by 25 per cent in real terms in the past decade.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Lambeth College and Croydon College boycotted classes on Wednesday and yesterday, as part of a row over pay and contracts.
Staff say the pay gap between schoolteachers and teachers in colleges is now £7,000 and have demanded improvements to their employment contracts.
Of those at Lambeth College, more than two-thirds of those who voted supported strikes, in a recent ballot, while 85 per cent of UCU members at Croydon College who voted backed the walk-out. The union said low pay was bad for staff, students and colleges.
About two-thirds of college heads said pay was a major obstacle for them when it comes to attracting staff.
UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “UCU members at Lambeth and Croydon have had enough of increasing workloads while their pay has been eroded.
The Government must take the blame for the failure to invest in further education, but colleges can and must do more to support their staff.
“With more ballots due, strikes are likely to continue in the new year unless these colleges address the concerns of their staff in relation to pay and contracts.”
A spokeswoman for the college said: “We recognise and value the hard work of staff at Lambeth College and were pleased that we were able to award a one per cent pay rise this September, even though we ended 2017/18 in a deficit position.
We are working hard to improve the financial situation of the college and rely upon the commitment of staff to continue to develop our service to our students.
Our plans for the future definitely aim to improve the college’s overall position.”