Striking staff at Coulsdon Sixth Form College have stepped up their industrial action, as teachers have taken to the picket lines on Placehouse Lane for a second week.
Union members are in dispute over pay disparity between Coulsdon and the salaries paid to staff undertaking similar work at Croydon College, which operates under the same management.
Staff were out on strike yesterday and this morning, following last week’s initial one-day stoppage.
Teachers believe that their salaries at the college “fail to recognise the extent of the skill and dedication involved in delivering high-quality education”, according to a spokesperson for the local branch of the National Education Union.
The NEU says, “This action will continue until such time that management can agree to meeting the legitimate claims of the strikers.”
The Coulsdon College employers’ representatives, the Association of Colleges, working in a negotiating framework with the NEU agreed salary levels 5per cent above what Coulsdon staff are receiving this year. When the agreement was ignored, strike action followed.
Talks between college representatives and the group empowered by the strikers to negotiate on their behalf have taken place but insufficient progress has been made, according to the union.
“Our negotiators will continue to engage with the college management and will press the case that the true value of the work carried out by members is reflected in the salaries available,” said the union.
“Unless the contribution of staff is fully appreciated and valued the college will experience retention and recruitment problems that will cause instability. This is something that must be avoided.”
The NEU is already predicting that the action could spill over into the new academic year when it begins in September if management is slow at coming up with an agreeable sttlement. “Hopefully, College management representatives will work productively with union negotiators and give an undertaking to pay in full the increase in salaries negotiated at national level,” they said.
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