Two Wigan sixth form colleges to be hit by staff walk-out

Two of Wigan’s biggest sixth forms are to be hit by a one-day strike by staff this week.

St John Rigby College at Orrell and Winstanley College are among 16 North West institutions which will see National Education Union members staging a walk-out on Wednesday November 30.

In total there will be 77 sixth form centres across England taking industrial action on the same day.

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NEU members voted to strike action in response to an “inadequate pay offer” from the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), which is well below inflation.

Winstanley College

A massive 88.5 per cent voted “yes” in the statutory ballot.

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The NEU says that sixth form college teachers have seen a 20 per cent cut in real terms pay since 2010.

The SFCA’s offer would see most teachers receive a five per cent pay award, rising to 8.9 per cent for a small minority. NEU sixth form teachers have declared that “enough is enough” and are calling on the Secretary of State for Education to fully fund their pay demand of an inflation-plus rise.

Sixth form college teachers are specialist practitioners, who deliver high quality academic and vocational programmes through A Level, T Level and BTEC courses.

Peter Middleman, regional secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The Chancellor’s latest budget statement on November 17 did nothing to address the problems with historic low-pay and under-funding in the post-16 sector.

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“Like in primary and secondary schools, dedicated professionals in sixth form colleges, who are preparing young people for the world of further study, vocational advancement and a challenging modern economy are being rewarded for their efforts with the largest real-terms pay cut in living memory and this is something our members are simply unwilling to tolerate from a government of millionaires and billionaires. The strength of the mandate for the strike speaks volumes: enough is enough”

“If the Government led by Rishi Sunak is serious about a post-Brexit and post-pandemic recovery being based on rich-knowledge and high-skills, we need to see immediate evidence that they are prepared to release significant funding in order to help save the sector and ensure current and future generations have the same choice and opportunity for study that those presiding over the sector had in their own teenage years”.