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Thousands of college staff on strike against cuts

THOUSANDS of “angry and determined” college staff are going on strike tomorrow in protest at the effects of government funding cuts.

Workers from 34 sixth-form colleges will walk out, having voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

The staff, who are members of the NEU union, are demanding that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson agree to improve their pay and conditions through better funding for education for 16 to 19-year-olds.

The workers say that the future of further education is under threat unless Mr Williamson includes significant amounts of new funds in next month’s Budget.

The strike will shut down about 40 per cent of all sixth forms and age 16-19 academies in England.

NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said: “The Conservatives have neglected 16-19 education, and sixth-form colleges in particular.

“No wonder our members are angry and determined to secure a properly funded post-16 sector for both students and staff.

“Gavin Williamson must take heed of this very real concern from a long-suffering sector and make the case to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister that the Budget on March 11 must include, at the very least, a £700 million injection of new money to close the gap with schools.

“Otherwise, the crisis in 16-19 funding will continue.”

The workers will be following up the action with further strikes on Thursday February 27 and Tuesday March 10, the day before the Budget is announced.

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