LECTURERS at South Tyneside College joined a national strike yesterday in a row over pay.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) staged a walk-out over a “derisory” pay offer of 0.7 per cent.
The UCU represents about 70 per cent of teaching staff at the college, in St George’s Avenue, South Shields, including the Marine School.
Branch secretary Ian Pippin said: “UCU members are on strike with regard to a derisory pay offer of 0.7 per cent.
“Again, we are looking for an offer to come much more in line with teachers as a whole.”
The UCU says lecturers have seen their pay fall in value by 15 per cent over the last four years.
Neil Smith, branch vice-chairman, said: “We accepted the one per cent offer at a push last year.”
He added that the row was not with college management, but the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which sets lecturers’ pay.
South Tyneside College remained open throughout the strike, with students advised to attend lessons as normal.
A recruitment event scheduled for the evening also went ahead as planned.
A spokesman said: “This was a national strike whereby members of the UCU were asked to take strike action.
“However, as far as South Tyneside College is concerned, it was very much ‘business as usual’ for students.”
UCU members at further education colleges were striking for the first time, while their university counterparts were taking action for a second time.
Their first walk-out took place on October 31, in a row over a one per cent pay offer.
The UCU said it was disappointed that talks with university employers last week failed to bring about any resolution to that dispute.
UCU head of bargaining Michael MacNeil said: “Staff in universities and colleges are taking strike action to say ‘enough is enough’.
“They have seen their pay slashed in real terms since 2009, and this year’s miserly pay offer, at a time of rising bills, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted.
“Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day’s pay, but we feel we have been left with no alternative.”
The UCEA has expressed its disappointment that talks fail to change union demands and strike plans.