College walk out today as staff are angry over pay freeze

Wigan and Leigh College
Wigan and Leigh College

Staff at Wigan and Leigh College are taking strike action today over a pay deal.

Lecturers, librarians, technicians, cleaners and caretakers at the college, in Parsons Walk, who belong to UNISON and the University and College Union (UCU) are among those taking part in the national one-day strike over pay.

The protest is against a recommended pay freeze by the Association of Colleges, following several years where staff have had very low pay rises, resulting in a real-terms pay cut for some of up to 17 per cent.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “Some colleges have promised their employees a pay rise, but the vast majority are determined not to budge from the zero per cent recommended. We urge the Association to follow the example of those more enlightened colleges who want to come back to the table to try to resolve this dispute.

“Funding cuts over several years have left colleges in dire financial straits. But it shouldn’t be further education employees paying the price. After years of pay freezes and real terms pay cuts, staff have been left with no choice but to take action to win a fair deal.

“It’s time for the college employers to do the right thing, get back around the table and make a decent pay offer that rewards all college staff for their dedication and hard work.”

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt, who will address a rally for further education staff in London today, added: “A pay freeze is an insult to the commitment and enthusiasm of staff working in further education, and fails to address the real-terms pay cut they have suffered in recent years.

“Strike action is always a last resort but our members are clear that the Association of Colleges needs to return to the table with an appropriate pay offer in order to resolve this dispute.”

A spokesman for the National Union of Students added it would support the strike.

NUT union members in sixth forms are also balloting for strikes over cuts. If they vote yes, a walkout and protest is planned for March 15.