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FE teachers vent their fury over pay and pensions

Thousands of college teachers went on strike yesterday over an "unacceptable" pay offer and unpopular proposed changes to their pension scheme.

Staff at more than 260 colleges were expected to take part in the national day of industrial action over what the University and College Union (UCU) described as the "lowest ever pay offer" it had received.

Under the offer, staff would receive an annual pay increase for 201011 of 0.2 per cent or pound;50, whichever is higher. Sixty-four per cent of members voted in support of strike action.

The FE action followed hot on the heels of similar protests in the higher education sector on Tuesday (pictured).

A UCU spokesman said: "With retail price index inflation at 5.1 per cent at the time of the offer, this would be a significant cut in the value of pay. It is also far below the 2.3 per cent offered to school teachers and FE teachers in Wales."

Last year's pay offer for staff in FE colleges in England was 1.5 per cent. College staff would also see their pension contributions go up, while the benefits of the scheme would be cut.

UCU was the first teaching union to ballot its members over the pension changes, although the ATL, which represents 160,000 staff in schools and colleges and includes the FE-oriented Association for Managers in Education, is also preparing a ballot.

FE staff were joined on the picket lines by lecturers from post-1992 universities, while staff from 47 pre-`92 institutions went on strike on Tuesday over changes to their own pensions system.

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