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Lecturers step up claim for pay deal

English lecturers have renewed their call for pay parity with school teachers now the salary gap in Wales has been closed after a three-year battle.

The deal adds pound;31.5 million to the Welsh wage bill. It means lecturers at all 23 of the Welsh FE colleges will now progress up a common pay scale from pound;19,281 and pound;32,628, backdated to August last year.

Those with management responsibilities can now earn up to pound;72,999 on a 38-point scale.

The pay deal also secures better wages for part-time staff, who are guaranteed the same rates of pay as their full-time colleagues. The casualisation of work in colleges is increasingly concerning the lecturers'

unions.

Officials for Natfhe, the lecturers' union, in Wales, hailed the deal as "a landmark victory".

Barry Lovejoy, Natfhe's head of colleges, said: "This deal should ensure industrial relations peace in Wales for the foreseeable future and employers and government across the border should take heed.

"In England, lecturers are forced to take continued industrial action because of the ongoing failure of colleges to implement a nationally-agreed pay settlement. The Welsh agreement shows that there is another way."

Mr Lovejoy said the Government should provide ring-fenced money for lecturers' pay rises, so colleges cannot plead poverty on the basis of other financial pressures.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, faced a demonstration by striking lecturers protesting about the pay gap at the AoC conference last November.

Sue Dutton, deputy chief executive of the AoC, said: "There are separate negotiation arrangements for Wales and England because colleges in these countries operate under different funding regimes and employment conditions."

The pay gap between lecturers and school teachers in England is estimated at 10 per cent and many colleges have been unable to meet nationally-agreed pay deals in full, claiming lack of funds.

National pay agreements, thrashed out between the Association of Colleges and the unions, are not binding on colleges.

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