Lecturers go on strike at Bolton College and the University of Bolton over pay dispute
HIGHER education staff across Bolton went on strike to protest about a pay deal which they say leaves them significantly out of pocket.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) from Bolton College and the University of Bolton picketed outside the main entrances of their buildings as part of a day of industrial action.
The union is angry staff were only offered a one per cent pay rise this year.
Lecturers in further education colleges in England have rejected a pay offer of 0.7 per cent from their national employers, the Association of Colleges (AoC).
They say the offer is the equivalent of a pay cut.
Joan Bailey, chairman of the Bolton branch of UCU representing further education staff, was campaigning outside Bolton College and calling on the AoC to offer a seven per cent pay rise.
The teacher, who has worked for 23 years, said: “We just want a fair deal, and striking is not something that we have taken lightly.
“We care passionately for our students and work tirelessly towards educating the people of Bolton but we feel we have to make a stand.”
Marie Guilluley, Principal of Bolton College, said while she sympathises with the UCU members, increasing the pay offer would present the organisation with a significant budgetary challenge against a reduction in college funding.
She added: “For the most part, classes ran as normal with relatively few being cancelled. The college apologises to those affected learners for any inconvenience the cancellations may have caused.”
Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Professor Rob Campbell, said there was no significant disruption to classes as a result of action.
He added: “The university has done everything it can to minimise the impact of any action on students.
“We cannot give exact numbers but we have good reason to believe that less than ten per cent of staff have taken part in today’s action.”
University students largely supported the strike.
Caitlin Lloyd, aged 19, said: “I think going on strike and cancelling classes, especially around this time a year, isn’t good, but if they have losing out then it’s what they’ve got to do.”
“I completely agree with the strike”, said second-year university student Matthew Atherden.
The 19-year-old added: “I work for B&Q, and this year we got a four per cent pay rise.”
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