By a lecturer
On Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 March thousands of lecturers in further education colleges took part in a national two-day strike, the second stage of industrial action being taken over pay.
Despite a national agreement being reached two years ago between NATFHE and the Association of Colleges, many colleges have refused to fully implement the deal, which, alongside a pay increase, would also see the introduction of a national pay scale for lecturers (at present, pay scales and rates vary from college to college).
The action is long overdue and well supported (75% voted in favour). However, many NATFHE branches did not take part in the action, either because they had opted not to be balloted or because they have agreed to resume negotiations with their employers.
This massively undermined the effect of the action and is the inevitable result of the freedom afforded to individual colleges to negotiate and agree pay and conditions directly with their own staff. This means branches are left isolated and weakened. The demand for a return to national pay bargaining must form part of any campaign.