Talks between college management and unions have broken down today with staff set to go on strike tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday, as part of an ongoing pay dispute.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Lewisham Southwark College in south London will be on picket lines from 8am tomorrow after the college, which is part of NCG (Newcastle College Group) refused to offer a pay rise or pay London weighting to staff.
This latest action follows walkouts in May, and UCU has warned that further disruption is on the cards if the college refuses to sort out the pay issue.
'Real-terms pay cut'
The UCU said the college had to “shoulder the blame for the disruption after years of real-terms pay cuts”. Staff have been offered only one pay increase (of just 1 per cent) in five years, and, unlike other London colleges, do not receive the London weighting allowance.
Head of further education at UCU, Andrew Harden, said: “The college must shoulder the blame for the disruption this week. Strike action is always a last resort, but in the face of repeated real-terms pay cuts and the refusal to implement London weighting, staff feel they have been left with no option but to walk out.
“We remain available for talks and are keen to get this dispute resolved, but the college needs to come back to the table with a decent and fair offer.”
The action comes just days after the college announced that it would be splitting into two separate colleges – a move that the union says must be the catalyst for improvements for staff, students and the local community.