Lecturers take to picket line

Calderdale College strike picket line with Renata Taylor-Byrne, Jan Holden, Richard Nelson, Arden Simpson and Rachel Terry.
Calderdale College strike picket line with Renata Taylor-Byrne, Jan Holden, Richard Nelson, Arden Simpson and Rachel Terry.

NEARLY a quarter of the Calderdale College lecturers went on strike yesterday over pay and pension cuts, directly affecting about 1,000 students.

Another protest took place against Government plans to cut funding for course for people who don’t speak English.

Tutors at Parkinson Lane School, Halifax, handed out leaflets and food to parents as they collected their children from school.

Spokeswoman Judith Boardman said mothers would be hardest hit by the cuts as they will not be able to afford to pay for classes in September.

Currently, ESOL classes are free to students in receipt of a range of benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Benefit. But from September 2011, only those getting JSA and some receiving the new Employment Support Allowance will be entitled to free classes.

The colleague protest directly involved 84 members of the University and College Union, who make up about a quarter of the college lecturers.

Calderdale UCU treasurer Richard Nelson said the union had rejected a 0.2 per cent pay rise from the Association of Colleges.

“It is a ridiculous amount when inflation is running at about 5 per cent and they failed to meet previous national pay agreements.

“We are also worried about changes to the Teacher’s Pension Scheme which will mean paying an extra 3 per cent a year, working longer and a loss of savings due to it changing from a final salary to an average salary scheme.”

All lecturers are also being asked to pay £68 a year to join the Institute for Learning, allowing them to teach in a classroom.

Yesterday’s action was part of a national day of protest.