Sixth-form teachers to go on strike


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The Independent Online

Sixth-form teachers are to stage a walkout in a row over cuts to funding and pay, a union announced today.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said its members working in sixth-form colleges had voted in favour of strike action in protest at the Government's funding cuts, and cuts to their pay and conditions.

A date for the first action will be decided in the next few days.

The union carried out ballots for two different disputes - one covering Education Secretary Michael Gove as the minister responsible for deciding on colleges' funding, and another involving college employers, who the NUT say are increasing class sizes and working hours and freezing teachers' pay

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "Sixth-form colleges do an excellent job for the young people who attend them.

"Cuts to the funding for these institutions are having a devastating effect. Restoring their funding and reversing the increases in class sizes and cuts to teachers' pay are essential or standards are bound to suffer."

The move comes just months after the NUT took part in the TUC's day of action in the row over the Government's controversial public sector pensions proposals.

In the dispute with the Education Secretary, covering 101 colleges, turnout was 28.6%, with 76.4% voting yes.

In the dispute with employers, covering 91 colleges, turnout was 32.4%, with 71.9% voting in favour.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) announced today that it is to start balloting its members working in sixth form colleges in England for strike action over a 0% pay offer for 2011/12.

The union said that its members working in sixth form colleges are already paid less than their peers working in schools.

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: "Our sixth form members are annoyed and frustrated at the way they are being treated and said they want to be balloted to strike.

"We all recognise the funding constraints facing sixth form colleges, and know that school teachers are in a two-year pay freeze, but members working in colleges are being paid less than those teaching the same subjects in schools.

"It is a ridiculous and untenable situation. The refusal by Sixth Form College Forum to offer any pay increase risks demoralising staff and will lead to problems retaining and recruiting staff."