Natfhe threatens strike on contracts

September 1, 1995

College enrolment week, which starts on Monday, faces disruption in some parts of the country because of strikes by lecturers over contracts.

Lecturers' union Natfhe is co-ordinating the action and FE negotiator Sue Berryman said at least 19 colleges had confirmed that strikes would take place and more were expected. Other action such as refusing to use cars for colleges business is also expected.

The strikes are in protest over the contracts dispute, now entering its fourth year, Ms Berryman said. Further industrial action is planned for later in the year over the break down of pay talks.

Roger Ward, chief executive of the Colleges Employers Forum, was sceptical about the action. "The vast majority of colleges have now resolved the contracts dispute," he said. "Most corporations have introduced the CEF/Acas brokered contract and many colleges have introduced local variations to suit their specific circumstances."

Mr Ward said Natfhe were merely "crying wolf" over enrolment week action: "They have threatened this for the last two years and the reality is very different from the publicity hype."

Lecturers who have signed new contracts have been offered a 2.7 per cent pay rise and those still working on old silver book contracts will get no increase. Profit-related pay and private health schemes are also on offer in some management scales.

Natfhe said the offer was unacceptable and it was looking for a pay offer for all lecturers. "This dispute is about national bargaining and common pay scales for all," Ms Berryman said.

* Lecturers at Jewel and Esk Valley College in Edinburgh have backed off from a strike in support of three colleagues who have been made compulsorily redundant.

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