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UK: Union achieves pay parity victory for college lecturers in Wales

A landmark agreement that will give Welsh college lecturers pay parity with schoolteachers has just been concluded, seeing £11.5m ploughed into staff pay on top of the £20m invested over 2003 and 2004.

The agreement means that lecturers at the 23 colleges of further education in Wales will now be paid in accordance with a single, national pay spine, which mirrors the pay structures of their schoolteacher colleagues. Previously, Welsh colleges each set their own pay scales which meant that pay rates varied greatly between institutions. All colleges paid lower rates than schools. The deal is also good news for part-time Welsh college lecturers who will be paid at the same rates as their full-time colleagues. And it is a victory for those on insecure, short-term hourly-paid contracts who will be paid on the same pay scales as their full-time colleagues, while some will be transferred on to long-term contracts. Margaret Phelan of EI affiliate NATFHE, Wales, said: "This is a landmark victory that gives college lecturers much deserved pay parity with schoolteachers, and means part-time staff in further education will no longer get second-class rates of pay. "One of the reasons that we have been able to secure this pay deal in Wales is because our government recognises the key role colleges will play in shaping the future of the curriculum for 14-19-year-olds and in adult education. I would like to congratulate the Welsh assembly government for allowing us to reach this agreement and for giving us the funding to do so." Barry Lovejoy, head of colleges’ department at NATFHE, in congratulating the Wales membership, said: "This deal should ensure industrial relations peace in Wales for the foreseeable future and employers and government across the border should take heed. "In England, lecturers are forced to take continued industrial action because of the ongoing failure of colleges to implement a nationally agreed pay settlement. "The Welsh agreement shows that there is another way. NATFHE calls on the government to face up to its responsibilities and provide ring-fenced money for agreed pay rises."