STAFF at York College are set to walk out on Monday (September 11) amid a national dispute over pay and the status of further education (FE) lecturers.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will strike all day and are also scheduled for the same action on Friday, September 15.

Nationally, UCU members in participating colleges have been balloted since Wednesday September 6.

A spokesperson for the union said of the action: “It’s primarily a dispute between the UCU and the government.

“We started negotiating in January – we put in a claim for a ten per cent pay increase.

“The college has awarded an offer of two-and-a-half per cent."

After negotiating all year the union said it has become apparent over recent weeks that college management were unwilling to move and they were undertaking the action reluctantly.

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The last round of negotiations ended in the week commencing August 28.

A spokesperson for York College said: “In this year’s pay round all our employees received a two-and-a-half per cent consolidated pay rise, effective from January 1, 2023.

“In addition, employees received a non-consolidated payment on December 30 last year which ranged from £300, to £800, with larger payments targeted towards lower paid staff.”

York College principal Lee Probert said in light of additional funding from the start of this academic year he was optimistic that employees would be granted a six-and-a-half per cent pay rise effective from January 1 next year.

Mr Probert said: “While respecting the right of trade unions and trade union members to take lawful industrial action, it is a matter of great regret that our students’ first day has been targeted and, since we cannot effectively anticipate the participation in industrial action, we have taken the difficult decision to close to students on Monday, September 11.

“All staff have been focussing on ensuring that our induction days this week have provided a positive first impression and welcoming environment for our new students.

“We also look forward to seeing everybody back on campus on Tuesday, September 12 when college will reopen to students as normal for the start of the new academic year.”

The union spokesperson went on to say that the context of the dispute lies within underfunding of the FE sector from the government.

They also quoted figures which suggest only 25 per cent of FE lecturers stay in the role for more than ten years.

Nationally, as well as pay, demands are for action on workloads and binding national negotiations.

Members of the UCU at higher education establishments across the country have been involved in strikes, as well as action short of a strike in the form of a marking and assessment boycott.

York College will be closed on Monday, on what would have been the first day of the new academic year for many of its students.

The first day of lessons will be on Tuesday, September 12.