National Education Union members working at two sixth for colleges in Brighton and Hove are due to go on strike for a second time today (Tuesday 5 November).
The strikes are expected to affect Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) and Varndean College.
The union said that members were taking action to defend their pay, working conditions and jobs.
The NEU said: “Cuts to 16-19 funding have been deeper and have gone on for longer than any other school sector with 22 per cent cuts compared to the 8 per cent suffered by schools.
“The NEU is arguing for the pay of sixth form college teachers and support staff to be restored to match that in schools and for action on workload and job losses caused by underfunding.
“The number of sixth form colleges has fallen from 92 to just 53 in the last few years and will continue to fall as a result of forced mergers with general FE (further education) colleges caused by the funding squeeze. FE colleges pay their staff, on average, around £7,000 per year less.
“There is an overall £700 million shortfall in funding for post-16 education. This affects adversely our members’ working conditions and our students’ education in this highly successful sector and is putting the future of sixth form colleges under serious threat.
“The two sixth form colleges in Brighton and Hove together have lost a total of £1.4 million in real terms since 2016, a cut of around £350 per student or 9 per cent (www.schoolcuts.org.uk).
“And, unlike schools both public and private, sixth form colleges have to pay VAT.
“The result of this is that jobs are being lost, class sizes are increasing, workload is increasing and the range of courses on offer is reducing.
“NEU members are taking action to secure the funding needed to sustain fair pay and conditions of employment, to reverse job losses, class size increases and cuts to teaching time and curriculum provision.”
The NEU, said: “The Brighton and Hove sixth form colleges provides a highly valued and much-needed education service to Greater Brighton and Hove as well as East and West Sussex.
“Sixth form colleges have always been a beacon of excellence but funding cuts have imperilled this and driven far too many colleges towards merger or closure.
“Strike action is always a last option but our members believe that it is necessary in order to encourage a resolution to our dispute and help save the sector.
“This will ensure future generations have the choice and opportunity for study that our local sixth form colleges provide.
“With a general election on Thursday 12 December, we also want parliamentary candidates to support our call for much higher funding of sixth form colleges as a priority for their party.”
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