Northern Ireland

Further education lecturers in NI reject pay offer, say unions

The pay offer has been rejected by the University and College Union (UCU). Picture by Jacob King/PA Wire
The pay offer has been rejected by the University and College Union (UCU). Picture by Jacob King/PA Wire

Further education (FE) lecturers in Northern Ireland have rejected a "derisory" pay offer, unions have said.

The University and College Union (UCU) and the NASUWT said their members had been offered one per cent for 2021/22 and the same for 2022/23.

They also claim a previous offer of two per cent for 2021/22 had been blocked by the Department for the Economy.

There are six further education colleges across the north, with the two unions representing the majority of FE lecturers.

The NASUWT told the BBC that further education college employers were "in cloud cuckoo land" if they thought lecturers would accept the offer.

Justin McCamphill from NASUWT NI said: "Lecturers were offered two per cent for 2021/22 and have now been told that this is unaffordable.

"The employers are in cloud cuckoo land if they think lecturers are prepared to accept a lower offer.

"Lecturer pay is now a long way behind schoolteacher pay.

"Our members have had enough and the strike action called for this Wednesday will go ahead as planned."

The UCU also said it believed that a lack of government at Stormont had impacted "the position lecturer staff find themselves in". 

In a letter to the FE employers, Katharine Clarke from the UCU said the latest pay offer was "derisory and must be rejected".

She also told members that employers had made a one-off "non-consolidated" payment of £4,900 to each lecturer on a pro-rata basis.

But she added that the payment was not the same as an annual pay deal.

The UCU also said on Monday that it would escalate action short of strike by refusing to formally provide colleges with marks for student work.

In a post on Twitter, it said: "Today, we resume the marking and assessment boycott at 145 universities.

"Make sure you understand your rights and the support available. Back the action. Back your union."