Croydon lecturers to join nationwide strike over fair pay claim 

Croydon College main building Pic: David Baird

Lecturers at Croydon College will join others around the country next week on a two-day strike for fair pay. 

Staff belonging to the University and College Union at six colleges will strike on November 28 and 29 to fight for a “decent wage offer”.  Croydon will join Lambeth College as two of the six in London.

Una O’Brien, UCU regional official, said: “UCU members at Lambeth and Croydon have had enough of increasing workloads while their pay has been eroded.” The union has yet to reach a satisfactory staff wage offer from colleges.  

Staff are striking in favour of a pay raise of five per cent or a fixed increase of £1,500 for employees who make under £30,000 a year. 

There has been a 25 per cent pay decline for college teachers around the country over the past decade. UCU claims that further education staff members are paid on average £7,000 less than schoolteachers each year.  

At Croydon College, over 85 per cent of UCU members who voted in the ballot backed strike action. Only six colleges from over 100 balloted were eligible to strike, as colleges need to secure at least a 50 per cent voter turnout and a majority vote. 

In addition to the six colleges striking next week, 26 colleges will open a ballot on pay on November 28 lasting through to December 19.  

O’Brien said: “With more ballots set to open, strikes are likely to continue in the new year unless these colleges address the concerns of their staff in relation to pay and contracts.” 

Dan Ashley, spokesman for the UCU, told Eastlondonlines: “The six colleges leading the way in the pay campaign have led to more branches asking for a ballot at their college on pay.” 

He added: “Their action and the recent pay deal of five per cent signed in London shows that colleges cannot continue to ignore their staff’s terms and conditions.” 

Earlier this week, three colleges part of the Capital City College Group in London received their sought after five per cent raise after striking for eight days earlier this year. Earlier this month, teachers at Lewisham and Southwark College were granted an annual £350 pay raise. 

UCU officials mentioned that the Government added £400m to school funding this year but did not include extra money for college funding.  

Matt Waddup, head of policy and campaigns at UCU, said: “While the Government must take the blame for their failure to invest in further education, colleges can and must do more to support their staff.” 

He continued: “Strikes are likely to continue in the new year until colleges show that they are at last prioritising their staff.”

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