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College lecturers go for strike ballot signalling wider unrest


Lecturers at Sheffield College are due to go for a strike ballot next week over reduncies resulting from a report into the management and finances at the college.

The college employs 1,241 staff to serve a student base of 32,000.

The Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) called for the report last December after the college failed to meet educational standards and work within its £45 million budget.

Paul Mackney, General Secretary of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (natfhe) said, "It cannot make sense to make lecturers redundant when we need to get more people into the college."

The move toward strike action could signal the tip of the iceberg of unrest within the further and higher education sector. Many teachers and lecturers have seen pay eroding for years compared with the pre-16 education sector, and many lecturers have been forced into part-time and casual contracts which only pay an hourly rate for the time that they are taking classes. Time spent in lesson preparation and time spent marking and validating work is unpaid. During holiday periods many lecturers have to register unemployed to receive state benefits as their pay stops.

The current move in many colleges is to have lecturers mount their teaching materials onto college intranets. No payment is made for the material and frequently employment contracts stipulate that copyright for the material rests with the college.

The colleges can then employ 'facilitators' to enable students to access the materials, with a faciltator's pay being less than that of a lecturer or teacher.


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