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More join pay parity strikers

Lecturers in five colleges were on the picket line this week as part of the national campaign for pay parity with teachers.

The colleges held a separate day of action on Tuesday because they were on half-term during the national walk-out on February 24.

Barry Lovejoy, head of colleges at Natfhe, the lecturers' union, joined strikers at Newcastle college. Action was also being taken at Sheffield, Stanmore and Thurrock and Basildon colleges.

Mr Lovejoy said that most colleges have still not met the nationally-agreed pay settlement in full. He says the union would be prepared to negotiate about a phased introduction of the deal where colleges are unable to settle.

John Brennan, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: "Most colleges affected are experiencing financial difficulty due to the Government's decision to starve colleges of the funding needed to allow them to match pay in schools.

"Colleges receive at least 10 per cent less per student from the Government than schools for providing the same courses.

"The average college would gain pound;500,000 annually if the funding gap were closed."

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