'We're being taken for granted': Barnet and Southgate College lecturers go on strike over pay

This Is Local London: Barnet and Southgate College on strike today. Barnet and Southgate College on strike today.

Lecturers at Barnet and Southgate College have walked out in a row over pay today.

Members of University and College Union (UCU) joined picket lines outside the college’s campuses in High Barnet, Grahame Park Way and Southgate this morning in a bid to draw attention to their cause.

David Armstrong, UCU branch secretary for Barnet and Southgate College was among more than 30 employees waving banners demanding “fair pay” outside the High Barnet campus.

He said: “We’ve been given a 0.7 per cent pay rise increase for the second year running and that’s way below the rate of inflation. And over the last five years we’ve had sub inflation pay rises.

“We're really fed up of the pay situation. Everybody is absolutely slugging their guts out to deliver quality education but we’re being given this in return – it’s insulting. Our living standards are being eroded.

"All of our members are dedicated professionals and we see strikes as a last resort, but we’re being taken for granted.

“Our work load increases because we have to take on more administrative tasks, but we’re being paid less and less.”

Despite strike action Barnet and Southgate College has remained open today.

A spokeswoman for the college said: “It is disappointing that UCU members have voted to take strike action following their ballot on the union’s decision to reject the national pay recommendation.

“Their decision stands in stark contrast to the response of the other five nationally recognised unions who have accepted the recommendation and reached agreement with Association of Colleges in the National Joint Forum.

“The college has made a 0.7 per cent pay award to all staff this academic year, in line with the national pay recommendation for 2013/14. This reflects the very real financial constraints colleges are facing. Since 2010, Government funding to colleges has reduced by 25 per cent with a cut of £250 million in this year alone.”

The college is part of the Association of Colleges whose director of employment policy and services, Emma Mason, said: “UCU’s industrial action risks damaging the education and training of students, undermines the reputation of colleges both locally and nationally and places an undue burden on non-teaching staff and non-union members to take measures to minimise disruption to the student experience.”

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