College strikes: Lecturers 'relying on food banks'

UCU strike action in East Sussex
Image caption Lecturers say their pay has "fallen dramatically"

College lecturers in Sussex have said some staff are relying on food banks to make ends meet due to lack of funding.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at East Sussex College in Hastings, Eastbourne, Newhaven and Lewes have been on strike for two days.

Some students at the over-16 colleges have had their classes cancelled as lecturers fight for better pay.

Dan Shelley, director of the college, said cuts to funding had an "impact on our ability to pay any pay increases".

Speaking on the picket line in Eastbourne, UCU representative Marcus Abel said: "Some of our lecturers are actually going to food banks.

"The level of pay now for lecturers has fallen dramatically. We are 25% worse off in real terms than we were in 2008. We shouldn't be treated in that way."

The union said school teachers earned £7,000 more a year than further education lecturers.

Mr Shelley said the college was "sympathetic" to the lecturers' plight and had "an understanding of some of the trials and tribulations that they have".

He said further education colleges had been "most affected by austerity," adding: "We've lost 25% of our funding and that has really had an impact on our ability to pay any pay increases."

In a statement the Department for Education said: "We recognise that the financial position for colleges is challenging and are looking carefully at the needs of further education in the run-up to the next spending review."

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