Further education unions have pledged to continue industrial action after rejecting a pay offer of 3 per cent. Last Monday's one-day strike in London, following an earlier national walkout with schoolteachers in April, is due to escalate with two days of strikes in September if the offer is not increased.
Sally Hunt, the University and College Union (UCU) general secretary, told a members' rally in Westminster: "College lecturers have hourly pay 15 per cent lower than secondary teachers.
"They are the lowest paid teaching professionals in England. For that reason, where London leads, the rest of England will follow unless we get an offer we can put to members."
Unions said the 3 per cent offer was not a real improvement on the initial one of 2.5 per cent as it would start in October instead of August. With inflation measured at 4 per cent, the unions say they cannot accept what would in effect be a pay cut for their members.
The UCU, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the Association of College Managers, Unison, Unite and the GMB are holding out for a 6 per cent increase for all workers, or pound;1,500, whichever is greater. According to Unison, this would mean the lowest paid staff in FE would be earning pound;7.38 an hour.