LATEST NEWS: College staff to vote on pay strike

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STAFF at Sunderland College will be voting over strike action in a row about pay.

The University and Coillege Union says the city college wants to slash the salaries of more than 150 lecturers by £10,000 and downgrade 70 per cent of its teaching workforce to lower pay grades.

Officials say the move breaches nationally-agreed pay scales and will leave Sunderland College staff paid far less than lecturers elsewhere and around £8,000 less than the average UK full-time worker.

The union also accused the college of trying to deliver teaching on the cheap and using the current funding difficulties in further education as an excuse to cut staff pay.

UCU regional official, Iain Owens, said: “Nobody is blind to the funding challenges facing further education at the moment , but there is no excuse for cutting pay in this way. The college’s actions are completely disproportionate and seem little more than an attempt to deliver teaching on the cheap.

“These punitive plans will deter the best and brightest from wanting to come and work at Sunderland College as they will be paid far less than the national average. We have been left with no choice but to ballot for strike action.”