LECTURERS at Croydon College are considering whether to take further action after striking this week over what unions called an "insulting" pay offer. About 30 staff manned a picket line outside the building in College Road on Tuesday as part of a day of national action. A number of classes, including those for A level students, were disrupted as lecturers walked out for the day. Margot Hill, secretary of the Croydon branch of the University and College Union, said: "We are still counting up how many staff took part in the action. "We know classes across the board were closed but the students have been very supportive." Ms Hill added: "The current pay offer of 0.7 per cent is an insult at a time when inflation is running at 2.6 per cent. "Lecturers on 15 hours a week will get about £100 for the whole year which is not enough to pay most people's monthly gas and electricity increases." She said the anger of the lecturers has been further fuelled by the fact that principals, earning on average £129,000 a year, had been offered a 2.5 per cent wage rise. Ms Hill said poor pay was being combined with cuts in hours and increased workloads. This had also meant remaining staff having to spend more time preparing lessons because student numbers were going up. Ms Hill said: "People are now doing a lot more unpaid hours to keep up with the need for preparation. "Teachers are getting very, very demoralised across education as a whole. We are no longer treated as professionals. "People think anyone can teach but that is not true; you need to build up experience and have a good night's sleep now and then to keep going." Ms Hill believed the situation was getting to a point where lecturers would be forced to leave the profession. She said: "Many of us are at breaking point. "We are the ones holding the service together but Government cutbacks, low pay and reduced hours are taking their toll. "Strikers at the college see the fight as a stand against attacks on education and against cuts in general." She added: "We will now all be thinking about what the next step will be."
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