31/05/2006

College lecturers stage second strike

Almost 2,000 lecturers in Northern Ireland's 16 further education colleges are taking part in another day of strike action over a pay dispute.

This is the second time within a week that the the teachers have taken part in industrial action.

Members of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) union are running a campaign of work-to-rule and lecturers are demanding that their pay be equalled with that of school teachers.

It is understood that a deal has already been struck between management and college professors, however it is thought to have been stalled by a government limit on pay rises.

The lecturers claim that they are paid almost £2,500 less than school teachers.

Talks are due to be held by a group of college directors who will meet with the Department of Employment and Learning, in a bid to resolve the issue and have the cap on pay increases lifted.

Jim McKeown from NATFHE said: "We have had promise after promise from the employers over the past five years, which they haven't honoured. We need to see something concrete on the table.

"The action that we are taking is aimed at disrupting the colleges. We are trying to avoid as much as possible a major impact on the students."

He concluded by saying that responsibility of the issue does not lie with the union and that he feels that they have been forced into the strike.

(EF/SP)

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