College expected to be hit by strike

LECTURERS will go on strike at a college tomorrow - causing disruption during students' exam period.

Anthony Bond

LECTURERS will go on strike at a college tomorrow - causing disruption during students' exam period.

The lecturers at Suffolk New College in Ipswich are striking in protest against a pay deal. It has been organised by members of the University and College Union (UCU) and has led to a number of classes at the college being cancelled.

Despite the strike, the college says it will remain open and all exams will go ahead.

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Picket lines will be held outside the college's main entrances in Rope Walk and Back Hamlet from early morning.

The UCU say its members are striking because of the college's failure to honour a pay deal agreed more than four years ago.

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The union says the national pay deal should have left a mid-ranking further education lecturer earning �4,511 more a year.

Jean Nial, who teaches at Suffolk and is a UCU member, said: “We regret having to take this action, but we think it's unfair that our pay is being kept down. It's only fair that we are paid the same as staff at other colleges and call upon the college to implement the 2004 deal. It will be hard for the college to retain and attract good lecturers if it continues to pay people so badly.”

UCU head of further education, Barry Lovejoy, added: “It's a real shame that things have come to this. The staff are not greedy, they are merely asking for the money they should have been paid four years ago. It is the intransigence of the college that has pushed members' patience too far and forced them into industrial action.”

Professor Dave Muller, principal of Suffolk New College, said: “This is part of a national campaign and the college is very disappointed that members are taking this action during the examination period. In the light of this the college will remain open and will facilitate where possible students having the opportunity to continue their studies or undertake revision for their assessments. The college remains sympathetic to the position of UCU in relationship to salary levels and in particular to the differentials between those employed in further education and in high schools.”

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