More join Blackburn College strike over 'insulting' pay offer
11:57am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
CLASSES were disrupted yesterday as lectures and support staff went on strike.
Members of the University and College Union stood at picket lines alongside their colleagues from Unison and Unite, after deciding to take industrial action over a pay dispute.
They were offered a 0.7 per cent pay rise this year, which Ashley Whalley, UCU member and politics lecturer at Blackburn College, said equated to a 15 per cent pay cut over the last four years.
He said: “The strike was well-supported. People recognise that pay is a key factor and we are trying to attract and keep the best members of staff.
“It should not be a race to the bottom and while we do appreciate people are suffering badly, we cannot just keep taking pay cuts. It is time the government changed tack.”
UCU membership secretary and regional chairman John Murphy said the pay offer was ‘an insult’.
He said: “Although there has been quite a lot of money spent on education, none of it has managed to get down to the people who do the real educating and teaching.
“We care for our students, but we are getting poorer and poorer and so are our families and students.
“The National Union of Students understands and they also want lecturers who are not worried about bills and can get on with teaching them.”
A spokesman for the University of Central Lancashire, which has a campus at Burnley, said: “The university was determined to minimise the strike’s impact on students by communicating any changes to the academic timetable in advance of the strike.
“Students were alerted to the cancellation of lectures or seminars and other timetabled sessions.”
Emma Mason, director of employment policy and services at the Association of Colleges, said: “UCU’s industrial action risks damaging the education and training of students, undermines the reputation of colleges both locally and nationally and places an undue burden on non-teaching staff and non-union members to take measures to minimise disruption to the student experience.”
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