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'IOU' colleges balloted for strike action in new campaign

9 December 2008 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Eleven colleges across the country could be brought to a standstill over their failure to award staff a pay deal agreed four years ago.

UCU has announced that its members in the colleges still refusing to honour the national pay deal, thrashed out in 2004, will be balloted for industrial action.
 
The colleges to be balloted are: Nelson and Colne, Croydon, Greenwich, North West London, Dearne Valley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Evesham, Sandwell, Sussex Downs, and Askham Bryan.
 
UCU said that the failure by those colleges to implement that national agreement ranks as one of the longest 'IOUs' from management to staff in the history of industrial relations.
 
In 2004, a national agreement was drawn up that heralded pay parity for college lecturers with schoolteachers. Thousands of further education lecturers had been unable to reach the higher pay levels enjoyed by schoolteachers, 50% of whom get extra allowances worth between £2,364 and £11,557per annum on top of their basic earnings. The new scales were to provide higher salaries for new lecturers and faster progression to the top points.

'Members in these colleges are getting second-class pay for first-class teaching...It is completely unacceptable for these colleges to think they can get away with it.'
Sally Hunt

The ballot opens on Thursday 11 December and the result will be announced on 12 January. If a 'yes' vote is secured strike action at the colleges is likely to take place at the end of the month.
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Members in these colleges are getting second-class pay for first-class teaching. They have waited four long years for a deal agreed with the national employers to be implemented. It is completely unacceptable for these colleges to think they can get away with an IOU for four years.
 
'UCU has consistently made it clear that we are willing to take into account local circumstances and agree ways to implement the plans. Flexible agreements have been made on the pay scales at a host of other colleges with serious financial difficulties and the remaining eleven have no excuses whatsoever. It is a matter of priorities and our members have waited long enough.
 
'If UCU members vote for industrial action, the colleges can expect disruption to start at the end of January and not end until the union is satisfied that members are benefiting from the agreement negotiated four years ago.'

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