Hampshire university and college staff walk out in pay row

ANGRY UCU members outside South Downs College in Waterlooville. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133305-238)
ANGRY UCU members outside South Downs College in Waterlooville. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133305-238)
From left, Elissa Curtis, LAET Brady and Mason Parker. Picture: PO Phot Nicola Harper

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TEACHERS and lecturers from colleges and the University of Portsmouth have walked out in a continuing row over pay.

Members of three unions – Unison, Unite and the University and College Union – took part in a national strike.

The UCU members at further education colleges are striking over a 0.7 per cent pay offer. Staff at South Downs College in Waterlooville were also on the picket line.

Abigail Addecott is the UCU branch secretary for the college. She said: ‘We’ve campaigned to get people to join it because we feel it’s important to stand up for our employment conditions at the moment.

‘The headline is about pay and fair pay and the fact that we haven’t had pay rises for a number of years.

‘There’s a perception that lecturers are well paid. But you’ve got to set that against the cost of living increases.

‘There are staff at this college who struggle to make ends meet and for people who have got professional degrees that doesn’t seem right.’

At the university, staff have been offered a one per cent pay rise, which unions say amounts to a 13 per cent pay cut in real terms since 2009. The strike follows a one-day walkout in October.

Staff marched along Guildhall Square to University House in Winston Churchill Avenue to stage a rally.

Will Medhurst, a lecturer and branch secretary for the UCU at the university, said: ‘It leaves us financially a lot worse off than we were a few years ago when we last had a pay rise. It’s not fair that university lecturers are struggling and are effectively still 13 per cent worse off than we were four years ago.

‘If you’ve got new lecturers coming in on the lower pay, they are better off in jobs that don’t require the qualifications that they have worked so hard to achieve.

‘They are going to be demotivated and that’s not going to impact well on the students they are supposed to be teaching.’