A leading Liberal Democrat MP has backed strike action at her her local college over pay.
The party's education spokeswoman, Layla Moran, said it was “outrageous that hardworking staff at Abingdon and Witney College [in her constituency] have been left feeling they have no option but to strike in response to pay cuts”.
She added: “As a former teacher myself, I know this is not a decision which will have been taken lightly. This government has decimated college funding, leaving staff pay trailing way behind their counterparts in schools.”
She said the gap had grown even further when the government allocated funding for a pay rise for school teachers last year, but failed to give any extra funding to colleges so they could offer the same to their staff. “As a matter of urgency, the government should allocate equivalent funding to colleges so they can give their staff a fair pay rise, comparable to what is being offered to school teachers,” Ms Moran added.
Colleges 'victims of chronic underfunding'
“But this is only one of the steps we need to take to reverse the chronic underfunding of further education. Colleges provide vital education and training opportunities and the Conservatives are unforgivably letting down both staff and students by neglecting this sector.”
Staff at Abingdon and Witney College are due to walk out for two days in a dispute over pay, after over two-thirds of members of the University and College Union voting in a recent ballot backed strike action. UCU members at 16 English colleges will be walking out next week as part of a second wave of strikes after staff at six colleges took action in November. The latest strike action is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, 29 January.
Colleges where strike action is taking place
- Abingdon and Witney College
- Bath College
- Bradford College
- Bridgwater and Taunton College
- City of Wolverhampton College
- Coventry College
- Croydon College
- East Sussex College
- Harlow College
- Hugh Baird College
- Kendal College
- Lambeth College
- Leicester College
- New College Swindon
- West Thames College