Wolverhampton College Lecturers Strike

January 30, 2019

On Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th January, lecturers at City of Wolverhampton College, and 12 other further education colleges around the country took strike action for a living pay increase of 5%. Socialist Party members visited the picket line organised by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) at the Wellington Road campus to show solidarity and learn more about the dispute.

After years of below inflation pay increases, many FE college lecturers now earn £7000 less pear year than secondary school teachers with equivalent experience. This at a time when cuts to college budgets have meant increased workloads – for effectively less pay in real terms!

To add insult to injury, while strikes at other colleges have been called off after management made improved offers, at Wolverhampton the bosses have refused to even meet with union reps to discuss the issues! One picket commented “Management have forgotten that they were in the same position as us 10 or 15 years ago. You have to remember your friends when you go up or else you won’t have any when you go back down.”

College lecturers aren’t the only ones who have suffered after a decade of austerity – and they’re not the only ones fighting back. Lecturers and support staff in higher education, school teachers and civil servants are all in the process of balloting for strikes against pay “restraint” imposed by public sector employers on behalf of the tories. Wouldn’t it be great if these disputes could be linked up into co-ordinated strike action, that could have a chance of winning concessions and acting as another nail in the coffin of this vicious tory government.

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