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Prime Minister's claim to respect further education does not stand up to scrutiny says UCU

30 January 2019

The Prime Minister's claim to respect further education does not stand up to scrutiny and will ring hollow with the hundreds of UCU members out on strike over pay this week. 

Theresa May was responding to question from Toby Perkins MP at Prime Minister's Questions on the funding crisis in further education.

The Chesterfield MP said that funding for further education had been cut by 30% in the last decade and asked the Prime Minister why students attending further education colleges were worth so little to the government.

UCU members at 13 colleges across England are on strike this week as part of a second wave of strikes after staff at six colleges took action in November. The union said that the government's claim to respect further education did not stand up to scrutiny and pointed out that:

  • further education has been the biggest loser in education funding
  • the pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000
  • college staff have seen their pay decline by 25% over the last decade
  • around two-thirds of college heads say pay is a major obstacle to attracting staff.

UCU head of policy Matt Waddup said: 'The pay crisis in our colleges has got so bad that staff are on strike to fight for fair pay. The Prime Minister's claim to respect further education does not stand up to scrutiny and will ring hollow with the hundreds of staff braving the cold on picket lines today. 

'Colleges must not use the continued failings of this government to shirk their responsibility to their staff. UCU will continue to campaign for more investment for the sector, but colleges that want to avoid further disruption need to start working with us and putting their staff first.'

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