Colleges in ongoing pay dispute go to arbitration

Strike action at Askham Bryan College was averted last week after management agreed to meetings with an arbitration service.

Staff planned the walk out with five other colleges over a long-running pay dispute. But an agreement to hold talks with the Advisory, Conciliation & Arbitration Service (ACAS) this month saw Askham staff step back from the brink.

The five other colleges involved in the dispute - Doncaster College, Rotherham College, Leeds College of Art & Design, Greenwich Community College and Suffolk New College in Ipswich - carried out strike action on 29 September.

The dispute concerns the colleges' failure to implement a pay recommendation from 2004 which would see lecturers earning up to £4,500 more. A University & College Union (UCU) representative said: "A national pay framework was agreed in 2004 and it is wrong for colleges to still be holding out on paying that in 2009."

A statement issued by Askham Bryan College said: "The strike action planned was postponed due to the progress that has been made in discussions with the UCU. "

The UCU also identified that Myerscough College had failed to implement the pay recommendation but no strikes are planned at this stage. Pershore College is in talks with the UCU.

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