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Just whose side are you on?

The students' union at Leicester College is faced with a dilemma over its neutral stance as the lecturers' strike continues during the half-term.

It says both sides should get their heads together in arbitration rather than continuing the stand-off over new contracts.

But students' own national campaign against top-up fees, in which pickets will be staged outside colleges in the last week of this month, is supported by lecturers' unions.

So now there is the prospect of students who don't support the lecturers picketing alongside lecturers who are supporting the students. That is, unless the head office of the National Union of Students has anything to do with it. Natfhe received a call from NUS HQ this week from an official expressing support for the lecturers' contract dispute.

And FErret hears the NUS's college branch will also be getting a call from HQ - which is likely to be followed by it changing its tune over the neutral stance.

Let's hope the strike action by lecturers will be over by the time FE Focus hits the street, and everyone's blushes will be saved.

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