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iwcollegeA national pay dispute could cause disruption at The Isle of Wight College next Tuesday as the academic staff union strikes over failure to agree a national pay claim.

UCU – the union representing academic staff in both colleges and universities – balloted its members over a pay offer of 0.7%. The decision to strike came after 70% voted for action. The day of action affects all universities and colleges across the country.

Phil Truckel, UCU Branch Officer at the College says such a decision to strike is not taken lightly:

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“We have exhausted all methods both locally and nationally. The employers and the government are not budging.

“We need to make college employers and the government aware that you cannot keep squeezing teachers, tutors and lecturers and still expect high standards.

“If we, as parents, colleagues and employers want outstanding education in our community, then we should expect to be recruiting the best people into teaching. That does not happen if the pay is poor.

“Whilst for many who work in education pay is not the only factor, a shortage of it tends to put it to the top of the priority list.

“The offer of just 0.7% for 2013/14 represents a 15% pay cut in real terms over the past four years. In addition we have still not received an agreed rise of 0.7% for last year whilst our workloads have increased and our terms and conditions damaged.

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“Staff in further education colleges are paid significantly less than colleagues in schools and universities and we need to plug that gap to ensure colleges recruit and keep the best academic staff.

“I ask that parents, colleagues and employers support this action. It is about being treated fairly as professionals and ensuring our College can continue to provide effective and sustainable education for our Island community.”

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