Support staff to vote on strike action

SUPPORT staff in colleges have launched a ballot for two days of strikes over "the derisory offer of 13p per hour" for the lowest-paid staff.

Christina McAnea, senior national officer for Unison, said that in the face of settlements of 3.5 per cent and more in the rest of the public sector, "the offer of 2.3 per cent leaves the Association of Colleges isolated as the worst payer. College support staff are now the lowest-paid public-sector workers - many on less than pound;5 an hour."

The decision to escalate action in association with lecturers' union NATFHE comes as the sixth-form college employers have agreed a 3.5 per cent increase. University bosses have offered a minimum of 3.5 per cent. Local authorities have also agreed 3.5 per cent for non-education staff.

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