Third strike at Wigan sixth form college in funding row

St John Rigby Sixth Form College
St John Rigby Sixth Form College

Staff at a Wigan sixth form college will return to the picket line for a third time as a national row about funding the sector rumbles on.

Scores of employees at St John Rigby Sixth Form College will go on strike tomorrow as part of action co-ordinated by the National Education Union (NEU).

Staff at more than 30 colleges across England will down tools to raise issues over pay, conditions and employment which the union says stems from under-funding stand-alone sixth form establishments.

Two days of strike action have already been held at the Gathurst college, which is the only one in the borough where enough members of staff voted in favour of industrial action.

Bora Oktas, NEU North West regional officer, said: “Our dispute is not with St John Rigby Sixth Form College. The college provides a highly-valued and much-needed education service in Wigan.

“However, funding cuts have had a savage impact on pay, conditions and jobs and have driven far too many colleges towards merger or closure.

“Strike action is always a last option. However, this dispute will help shape the future of the sector – hopefully for the good – by securing the funding needed to sustain fair pay, conditions and employment.

“Our members do not want more job losses, class size increases and cuts to teaching time and curriculum provision; they want proper funding.”

The union says college staff have seen substantial pay cuts since 2010 and parity with schools has gone.