Lecturers at Lambeth College in Brixton went on strike for two days to win higher pay and more government spending on further education. And there could be more action if things don’t improve.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) picketed the Brixton Hill campus – formerly Brixton College – on Wednesday and Thursday as part of their campaign to reverse the cuts forced on the sector by a decade of austerity.
Lecturers have had no substantial pay rise for ten years. In real terms their salaries have fallen by 25 per cent and are much lower than schoolteachers’.
Brixton striker Tracey Young said: “We have had no proper pay rise for ten years. In real terms our salaries have fallen by 25 per cent and are much lower than schoolteachers’.
“Members are so fed up that when we voted on the strike members voted by more than 60 per cent to take action.”
Lambeth is one of six FE colleges around the country to take strike action, but many more are now balloting themselves and there could be stronger action next year.
In the New Year Lambeth College is to be taken over by South Bank University, based around the Elephant and Castle, but the teachers will not be paid university salaries.
The UCU says: “While the government must take the blame for their failure to invest in further education, colleges can and must do more to support their staff.
“Colleges have failed to deal with the pay issue. While workloads have risen, pay packets have shrunk. Members have been left with no choice but to take this action.
“We hope the strikes this week will focus the colleges’ minds and they will come back to us and get the dispute sorted. Otherwise we are likely to see further disruption.”