About 50 staff at Coulsdon Sixth Form College have joined a picket line this morning, in a dispute between the National Education Union and college management over a refusal by the administration to honour nationally agreed pay awards.
Coulsdon Sixth Form College is now part of Croydon College, but it has retained its separate identity, and the terms and conditions of its staff also differ from those based at the central Croydon site.
As such, salaries of union members employed at Coulsdon are negotiated at national level by the NEU and other education unions.
Successive settlements agreed with employer representatives at a national level have not been recognised by Croydon College management, causing frustration among NEU members at Coulsdon.
They have drawn attention to feeling undervalued and say that poor salaries explain the college’s retention and recruitment problems.
In addition, NEU members claim that matters are made worse by the erosion of pay in real terms due to the cost of living crisis.
With growing anger at the intransigence of Croydon College management, NEU members demanded a ballot for strike action in support of a salary increase. This resulted in more than 90per cent of members voting for strike action. A series of strikes, beginning today, has been authorised by the NEU at national level. Negotiations with Croydon College have made “insufficient progress”, according to union sources.
A series of strike days has been drawn up in such a way that disruption to student exams is avoided.
Dave Winters, a representative of the striking teachers, said, “Attempts to secure a commitment from Croydon College authorities to pay salaries successfully negotiated by national representatives have been frustrated. Strike action is a last resort.
“The Union will continue to press the case for fair pay until this modest demand is met.”
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