NEU will ballot sixth form college teachers as 85% back strike

'In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, [they] are not prepared to see their income fall further'

'In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, [they] are not prepared to see their income fall further'

The National Education Union will formally ballot members in sixth form colleges for industrial action after 85 per cent of respondents to an indicative ballot backed strike action.

Turnout in the indicative poll of 4,100 members in 77 sixth form colleges was 76.6 per cent – well above the 50 per cent threshold for formal ballots required under tough union laws that came into force in 2016.

The 85 per cent support for a strike is also more than double the 40 per cent required, meaning if the results are repeated in the formal ballot, industrial action would go ahead.

Overall, 97 per cent of respondents backed calls for a pay rise to exceed RPI, which was 11.7 per cent when the pay claim was submitted.

The response represents the first proper indication of the school sector’s desire to take strike action in response to pay offers set out earlier this year. Unions have warned these are now well below the current rate of inflation.

A separate indicative ballot of teachers and support staff in schools is due to close on Friday. The NEU has given education secretary Kit Malthouse until noon that day to come up with a better pay and funding offer or face a formal ballot.

Teachers and staff in further education colleges, who are mostly represented by the University and College Union, have taken part in separate strike action this term.

Sixth form college teachers have their pay set differently to school teachers, so the union has to hold separate ballots on the different pay offers.

However, the NEU said the pay offer from the Sixth Form Colleges Association had essentially “mirrored” the pay offer for teachers, which amounts to an 8.9 per cent increase in starting salaries, but a 5 per cent rise for most teachers.

Joint general secretary Mary Bousted said sixth form college teachers had “suffered a real-terms pay cut in the region of 20 per cent since 2010”.

“In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, [they] are not prepared to see their income fall further.

‘No-one wants to take strike action’

“No one wants to take strike action, but year after year of below-inflation pay increases have now had a major impact on the value of their pay. Government needs to address what is now a serious problem for the sector.”

Graham Baird, director of HRservices at the SFCA said leaders “fully support the NEU’s call for a significant increase in teachers’ pay”.

“Despite receiving significantly less funding than schools, we have been able to match the STRB award for teachers in the school sector.

“This is at the very edge of affordability for our members, and it will require additional funding from the government to ensure that teachers in sixth form colleges receive the pay increase that they deserve.”

A DfE spokesperson said sixth form colleges were “independent of government and set their own pay”.

“To support colleges, we are investing an extra £1.6 billion in 2024/5 compared to 2021/22 so that more young people aged 16-19 can access high quality education and training.”

Latest education roles from

School Librarian

School Librarian

Platanos College

LECTURER – A LEVEL CHEMISTRY

LECTURER – A LEVEL CHEMISTRY

East Sussex College

Digital Pedagogy Team Leader

Digital Pedagogy Team Leader

Barnsley College

Learning Support Assistant

Learning Support Assistant

The Chalk Hills Academy - Part of the Shared Learning Trust

GCSE Maths Teacher (Mat cover)

GCSE Maths Teacher (Mat cover)

Barnsley College

Apprentice Development Leader

Apprentice Development Leader

GP Strategies

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

A new chapter in education protection!

Gallagher is a specialist in the Further Education sector, working with over 75% of Further Education colleges in the...

Advertorial

More from this theme

Industrial action

UCU’s own staff vote to strike

The dispute centres around allegations of racism and pay priorities

Anviksha Patel
Colleges, Industrial action

Staff at London’s biggest college stage 8 day walkout

UCU members at Capital City College Group picketing over pay and workload

Anviksha Patel
Industrial action

Strikes: Minimum service levels will ‘inflame’ tensions

Unions slam 'bad faith' proposals as college leaders raise concerns about union relationships

Shane Chowen
Colleges, Industrial action

Latest college pay deals revealed

University and College Union agrees new pay deals at 24 colleges

Anviksha Patel

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *