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Peter Hadden

FE colleges close as lecturers fight for parity

(October 2006)

From The Socialist [Dublin], October 2006.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

Lecturers in the 16 Further Education Colleges across Northern Ireland took strike action in September over their claim for equal pay with school teachers.

The one day strike in September followed on from two one day strikes in May. Two further strike days are planned, one in October and one in November. The industrial action also includes a work to rule and a refusal to co-operate with government plans to merge the FE Colleges into six “super” colleges by 2007.

Lecturers are justifiably angry that an agreement to introduce parity with school teachers, which was reached in 2001, has never been implemented.

The top point of the teachers’ pay scale is around 2,500 more than the equivalent point of the lecturers’ scale. Additional allowances, that are available to teachers that can take them above this point, are not available to lecturers.

Instead of giving way and implementing the 2001 agreement, the employers have responded in a vindictive manner that could escalate the dispute. Lecturers were due their annual pay rise in September. But, in response to the ongoing work to rule and lack of co-operation, the employers refused to come up with any offer.

This is despite the fact that the Colleges have considerable financial reserves which could be used to meet the parity claim.

There was a determined mood on the picket lines on all three strike days. If the next two strike days do not force the employers to grant the claim, there will be little choice but to escalate the action.

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Last updated: 6 May 2017