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Lecturers step up strike action

Thirty colleges have decided to strike for two days as the sector's pay dispute escalates across the country.

Natfhe, the lecturers' union, this week revealed a list of colleges that are stepping up their action following the recent one-day strikes. It says most colleges have still not given the nationally negotiated pay increase in full.

At most of the colleges at which the latest walk-out is due to take place on March 15 and 16, lecturers have been given a 3 per cent pay increase but have not yet been placed on the new pay structure that was also agreed as part of the deal thrashed out between Natfhe and the Association of Colleges.

Barry Lovejoy, head of Natfhe's colleges department, said: "Unfortunately, it looks like there are going to be disputes across the country for several months."

While national pay negotiations take place between the AoC, Natfhe and other unions, colleges are not legally bound by the outcome.

Many colleges claim that they lack sufficient funds to put into place the latest pay agreement, which was designed to reduce the gap between the salaries of college lecturers and school teachers.

Natfhe is hoping that further negotiations about a phased settlement could be held with those colleges that are genuinly unable to afford to implement the pay increase.

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