A STRIKE ballot has opened at colleges across England including Sparsholt College in a dispute over low pay.

Strikes could be on the cards as industrial ballots opened on Tuesday, June 14 with the University and College Union (UCU) members citing unmanageable workloads and professional respect.

The ballot closes on Friday July 15.

The dispute is between UCU members and college employers.

Employer representative, the Association of Colleges (AoC), recommended employers raise pay by 2.25 per cent for 2022/23 and refused to endorse UCU’s call for colleges to become accredited Living Wage employers.

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The strike ballots are part of the union's Respect FE campaign that aims to improve the pay and conditions of staff in further education.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "A pay offer of 2.25 per cent is so far below inflation that it will push many college staff into poverty. That combined with a refusal to recommend colleges become Living Wage employers is a complete betrayal.

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"We will not accept staff having pay held down whilst the cost of putting petrol in the tank, heating the home and feeding loved ones soars. With three in four staff also facing dangerously high workloads we have no choice but to proceed to a ballot for strike action."

The colleges being balloted are:

1. Abingdon and Witney College

2. Bath College

3. Blackburn College

4. Bournemouth and Poole College

5. Bournville College of FE

6. Bridgwater and Taunton College

7. Carlisle College

8. Chichester College Group - Chichester

9. Chichester College Group - Crawley

10. City College Plymouth

11. City of Bristol College

12. Croydon College

13. Derby College

14. East Sussex Cllege Group - Hastings

15. East Sussex College Group (SDC)

16. Exeter College

17. Halesowen College

18. Hereward College of FE

19. Lambeth College

20. Lewisham College - Deptford

21. Lewisham College - Lewisham Way

22. New College Swindon

23. Newcastle College

24. Sandwell College of FHE

25. South & City College Birmingham

26. Southwark College

27. Sparsholt College Hampshire (inc Andover College)

28. Strode College

29. Truro and Penwith College

30. West Lancashire College

31. Weston College

32. Wiltshire College

33. Yeovil College

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