Lincoln lecturers walk out as part of nationwide strike

Staff at Lincoln College have walked out on strike as part of a national day of action over pay.

Further education lecturers, librarians, technicians, cleaners and caretakers who belong to UNISON and the University and College Union (UCU) have taken part in the one-day strike on Wednesday, February 24.

Unions have said that the protest is against a recommended pay freeze by the Association of Colleges, following several years where staff have had very low pay rises, resulting in a real-terms pay cut for some of up to 17%.

A picket line formed outside Lincoln College, with lecturers explaining that the strike was not just related to pay, but was about working conditions as well.

Claire Whittaker, Branch Secretary of Lincoln College UCU, said: “We haven’t had a pay rise since 2006 and we just feel that we’re the forgotten area of education.

“Our branch isn’t militant but we’ve just had enough.

“We’re all drawn to this job because we feel strongly in providing the best possible education for our students. But increasingly we’ve become concerned that working conditions are more onerous, preventing us from fulfilling our jobs effectively and successfully.

“It’s a very difficult decision when we go out on strike because the people that suffer are the students and we don’t want that to happen.

“Our main hope of the strike is that it will ensure the long-term security and sustainability of the sector.”

A Lincoln College spokesperson said: “Around 12 out of a total of 850 Lincoln College staff are taking strike action today as part of a national day of UCU industrial action.

“We are in continuous open dialogue with UCU members and we work hard to address any concerns they may have.

“Lincoln College has been exploring the possibility of an enhanced pay offer for some time. Our use of resources must be focused on providing the best possible learning environment for our students and this will continue to be the case.

“Should we reach a point where a pay award is affordable without compromising our standards it will be considered.

“The last pay rise was awarded in 2008, but Lincoln College has broadly maintained staffing levels in comparison to other colleges in the region which have made cuts of up to £1m in recent years.

“UCU has not formally raised concerns about working conditions at Lincoln College.”